How empiricism and positivism is distinguished? What's their differences?

  • According to Wikipedia,

    Empiricism is a theory that states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism and skepticism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory experience, in the formation of ideas, over the notion of innate ideas or traditions; empiricists may argue however that traditions (or customs) arise due to relations of previous sense experiences.

    Positivism is the philosophy of science that information derived from logical and mathematical treatments and reports of sensory experience is the exclusive source of all authoritative knowledge, and that there is valid knowledge (truth) only in this derived knowledge.

    Both of them seem same to me. I want to know what's the differences and field of applications with examples.

    You have not to consider them as "eternal, un-historical" doctrines, but in their historical context. *Empiricism* in XVIII century Europe was mainly represented by Locke and Hume and was a "reaction" against Rationalism (Descartes, etc.). *Positivism* was XIX Century : see Comte and was mainly drived by the impressive development of exact sciences. In the XX Century, the "old" Positivism ... 1/2

    ... was replaced by *Logical positivism* or Logical Empiricism. The main focus was again on the scientific worldview, but tacking into account the XX Century development of math and logic, Relativity th and Quantum Mech. 2/2

    Thanks. What's unhistorical doctrine? And what is meant by exact science?

    A statement like "Empiricism is a theory that states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience" is true but trivially true : it is applicable to Aristotle as well as Hume and Carnap. At this level of "unhistorical" discussion the answer to the question : "What are the differences between Empiricism, Positivism, Logical positivism, Neopositivism" is plainly : NOTHING.

    Mauro, I do not consider the sentence quoted in your comment to be true by trivial reason. It is true for e.g., Aristotle. But it does not apply to e.g., Plato. For the latter knowledge is the primordial perceiving of the Platonic ideas like the beautiful, the just, the true etc. Comprehension of the ideas is a presupposition to interpret the sensory input - according to Plato.

    @jowehler - I've not said taht it applies to **all** philosophers ... I've said that, if it is abstracted from the historical context, it applies to all "brands" of empricists philosophers,... :)

    One of the main differences is that logical positivism claims that anything that is not subject to experiment is meaningless. While empiricism only claims that experience is the most important source of knowledge. So you can think of it as if positivism is a strong stance of empiricism, because empiricism does not deny that metaphysical questions have no meaning, it just says that to answer a question we need empirical experience.

  • iman

    iman Correct answer

    6 years ago

    somehow on contrary there is much difference ,sometimes even on the sense which these two are used.

    ("logical") positivism (so called "logical empiricism" or "scientific empiricism"), a movement associated with Vienna Circle. Their mission was to 'unite' the science (especially as opposed to metaphysics) and give a correct sketch,description of scientific method(to dispute metaphysics). Their task concern both scientific theory and language.This movement can be seen as empiricism (which states for example that they are in agreement with the methodology of natural science, and in that they believe that the source and origin of all knowledge is experience) and with a very important role for the (formal) logic "to describe the structure of permissible inference"(linguistic and logic).They are in agreement with empiricist that origin of all knowledge is experience but they also seek for a "logic of science" with a very unique "authority", which in it's turn leads to conformation theory.

    To be direct, positivism states that 1)the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge[a uniqueness statement](but empiricism is about source and origin of knowledge, which states that origin of all knowledge is sense experience, and of course scientific knowledge is included). 2) this authentic knowledge come from a special and unique method(scientific method)"" that is empiricism + specific principles of logic".

    It asserts something about authentic knowledge and the method of achieving this authentic knowledge, empiricism is about ,what is the basis of all our knowledge, it's emphasizes on experience and evidence(especially sense perception) to acquire knowledge, to use Kant, the "only knowledge we can have" is a posteriori( based on experience).

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM