Advantages Of Positivism

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“Positivism is a set of philosophical approaches that seeks to apply scientific principles and methods, drawn from the natural and hard sciences, to social phenomena in order to explain them” (Kitchin, 2006, p.20). In this essay I will discuss positivism, its advantages and its limitations. I will also give framework on what positivism really is and how the positivist approach is completely different in human geography than in physical geography. Positivism is a complicated philosophy and to be able to understand it, you must first look at the history of the philosophy. I will then look at how geographers form a hypothesis and how this hypothesis is made into a theory.
There are various ideas on Positivism and every philosopher or geographer
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(2011)). Positivism is the belief that results may only be gotten if the positivist can keep his or her emotions out of the experiment. Positivism is constructed on the concept that the researcher must ignore their own emotions and behaviour, but there is no way to ensure this does not happen because human emotions and behaviour come naturally to all humans and it is likely that the researcher would not be able to ignore their emotions at the time the experiment is taking place. A second disadvantage to positivism is that positivists believe that everything can be measured and they feel strongly about their belief that anything which cannot be measured is irrelevant and this cannot be changed (Johnson, S. (2011)). Positivists observe things as they are and have a habit of forgetting about those marvels that are unsolved. This concept means that positivists ignore any ‘lateral thinking’. Lateral thinking is the process of artistically and incidentally determining different ways to solve problems. One more disadvantage of positivism is if a researcher decides to use a survey to gather their data, analysis and people not replying can affect the results. An example of this is would be if the researcher decides to ask a random group of people, they could ask people with exactly the same views on the subject in question and thus it is not fair coverage. The other…show more content…
Even though physical geography is based on the concept of empiricism, it has its links with positivism. A lot of physical geographers tend to believe that to gain knowledge they have to leave the boundaries of their offices and go experience the world. Physical geography use the positivist concept which uses the scientific method, statistics and graphs to measure marvels and take note of their data, such as measuring the Volcanic Explosively value for a volcanic eruption is constructed around the eruption support height and how long the eruption lasts. “Translating theory into something that can be assessed in the physical environment means that phenomena are made measurable” (Inkpen, R. J.
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