Positivism in Understanding the Contemporary Social World: A Critical Discussion

Hayat Ali, Muhammad Faisol Chowdhury


This theoretical paper aims to critically discuss the extent of positivism in order for us to understand the contemporary social world. The discussion concentrates on philosophical positivism from a social science standpoint, firstly, its origin and development during the eighteenth century, then secondly, the development of the Vienna Circle, and lastly, the influence of the late nineteenth century’s postmodernism has on positivism. Rather than focusing on the distinct recurrent anticipations of positivism of ancient ideologies of philosophy, the paper describes the theoretical understandings of positivism in sociological perspective. Then it highlights the tenets of positivism developed by different sociologists and philosophers. Lastly, by probing into those tenets and methodological implications of different positivist approaches it critically analyses the extent to which this ideology aids our understanding of the concurrent social world.

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