Positivism In Human Geography

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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, n.d.). In my essay I aim to look at and analyse the underlying aspects as to what a positivist approach in geography is and its significance for human geography research. Positivism is a philosophical theory stating that positive knowledge is based on natural phenomena and their properties and relations. As a result, information is derived from sensory experience and interpreted through reason and logic. Below by looking at its history and by using examples, I aim to assess its contemporary significance in human geography research.
History + Background:
The history of positivism relates back to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries where two respected philosophers known as Auguste Comte and Moritz Schlick whose studies have influenced its role and understanding in the ‘modern’ world. The name “positivism” derives from the emphasis on the positive sciences that is tested and systematized experience rather that an undisciplined speculation (Encyclopedia.com, 2015). The older positivism proposed by Auguste Comte viewed human history as progressing through three different stages: the religious, the metaphysical, and the scientific. His positivism was presented in a clear distinct manner and arranged in a systematic form that highlighted the core principles
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