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1. Nature and Origins

Positivism as an intellectual attitude emerged clearly in early 19th-century social theory. Henri de Saint-Simon (1760–1825), the founder of French socialism, was the first to use the term. Auguste Comte (1798–1857), “the founding father of modern sociology,” developed positivism into a comprehensive worldview that spread to other disciplines, in particular philosophy and natural science.

The positivist outlook restricts the domain of knowledge to verifia…

Cite this page
Wallner, Fritz and Brown, Robert F., “Positivism”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 20 June 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_P.126>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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