Briefly put, positivism is the philosophical doctrine which states that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only come from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific method, refusing every form of metaphysics. There are five main principles behind positivism:
- The logic of inquiry is the same across all sciences (both social and natural).
- The goal of inquiry is to explain and predict, and thereby to discover necessary and sufficient conditions for any phenomenon.
- Research should be empirically observable with human senses, and should use inductive logic to develop statements that can be tested.
- Science is not the same as common sense, and researchers must be careful not to let common sense bias their research.
- Science should be judged by logic, and should be as value-free as possible. The ultimate goal of science is to produce knowledge, regardless of politics, morals, values, et cetera.
“But what use is the unicorn to you if your intellect doesn’t believe in it?” – Umberto Eco