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(2,256 words)

Author(s): Wallner, Fritz | Brown, Robert F.
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 verifiable facts about the world (what is “posited,” from Lat. positus, something “laid down” or “set …