Posted at 11.19.2018
A research viewpoint such as positivism has a relevance importance in the analysis of society. There are three research philosophies that are accepted in the books to the study of culture - interpretivism, realism and positivism. The aim of each of these philosophies is to endow with a unique view on just how knowledge is developed. These philosophies in the social science are contrasted on ontological, epistemological and methodological bases as reported by Corbetta (2003, p. 12-13) that 'ontological relates to the existence of a genuine and objective world; epistemological relates to the possibility of knowing this world and the forms this knowledge would take and methodological refers to the technical instruments that are used in order to acquire that knowledge. ' However, this essay relates to the contribution of positivism to the study of contemporary society. Therefore, to address the essay aim, this article is divided into three parts.
The first section of this essay provides an insight into historical history of the positivism idea. It mainly addresses the work of Auguste Comte who was simply the first philosopher who introduces the word 'positivism'. This section also identifies the term 'positivism'. The next part of the essay includes the epistemological point of view of the positivisms. It depicts about the likelihood of knowing the modern culture in the positivism point of view and also presents the traditional positivism perspective i. e. neo-positivism and post positivism perspective of knowledge creation in the world. The last portion of this article includes the methodologies in positivism. It identifies the tools and techniques which positivist researcher uses to obtain knowledge for the likelihood of knowing the culture. This section includes the two distinctive techniques i. e. deductive and inductive that positivist researcher can utilise to find universal laws and regulations for knowledge creation. This section also shows that why positivist researcher expressed the effect of context by means of institutions alternatively than expressing it in the framework of whole world or culture. Some issues and concerns regarding positivism idea are also included in the last of the section.
Comte, Marx, Durkheim and Weber have an enormous contribution to the study of the society but Comte (1856) was the first who explained the epistemological point of view of positivism. His work is added in the study of social science in the introduction of first sociological version of positivism. His work can be seen as a reaction to the school of thought of Enlightenment (Gordon, 1991). He coined the term 'positive school of thought' which is now lasted right down to shorter form of 'positivism' which he called as antidote to the negative views of Enlightenment (Gordon, 1991; Hammersley, 1993). He criticised what he called as 'negative philosophy' developed by the eighteenth hundred years philosophers who stressed the role of reason in individual affairs that have been too critical of traditional companies and for that reason, he figured they had destroyed somewhat than provided the foundations for interpersonal order and sociable consensus (London External, 2010).
His theory was a declaration about the energy of science and of rational considered to understand the world and concerns the analysis of ideas. As mentioned by London Exterior (2010, p. 27) that 'Comte notes a final stage of evolution where individuals thought abandons perception in essences or real ideas such as complete truth, but rather attempts to discover laws that web page link different facts collectively, through the techniques of observation and experiment; complete notions of causes are discontinued, and the emphasis shifts to the analysis of facts. ' Therefore, corresponding to Fisher (2007), Auguste Comte turned down the metaphysical and subjective ideas and was interested only in the tangible. Therefore, he stated that positivism supports that an appropriate and value free knowledge of things is possible even it retains that human beings and their action can be analyzed but an emphasis of tangible things is important in this regard. For example, it is possible to study scientifically the tangible areas of human being activity by learning external interpretation of individuals behaviours that happen to be observable and quantifiable and in the analysis; there should be no regards to the intangible areas of human activity (Porta and Keating, 2008). Therefore, the intension of positivism is to produce general laws that can be used to predict the behaviour (Fisher, 2007) and therefore, positivism can be explained as an epistemological perspective which applies methodical reasoning to develop general laws to be able to explain communal phenomena in the process of knowledge construction (Henn, Weinstein and Foard, 2009; Remenyi et al. , 1998).
As layed out in the intro that certain of the bases on which philosophies of social science constructed can be an epistemological aspect. Epistemology addresses the question of the 'character, sources and restrictions of the knowledge' (Klein, 2005) and it tells about how people know things. In traditional methodology of positivism, the world exists as a target entity which is outside the mind of the observer. Epistemological facet of positivist philosophy is assumed on the bases that the researcher can be separated from the thing of his research and then the activity of the researcher is to describe and analyse this certainty by observing it in natural way and without influencing the observed subject (Porta and Keating, 2008). The traditional strategy of positivism is that social sciences are in lots of ways very much like other sciences. For instance, in the neutral sciences, there are systematic guidelines and regularities governing the thing of study, which can be also amendable to empirical research. In the words of Durkheim (1982: 159), 'Since the law of causality has been confirmed in other domains of mother nature and has gradually extended its power from the physical and chemical type world to the natural world, and from the second option to the mental world, one may justifiably grant that it's furthermore true for the communal world. ' Therefore, reality is considered to be objective in positivism i. e. it is considered as an exterior to human imagination which is easily knowable. This is also known as neo-positivism and it relaxed the assumption that knowledge is context free.
Porta and Keating (2008) expresses that post positivism also contains the same assumption as neo-positivism holds but the simple fact is only imperfectly knowable. They dispute that if positivism resembles the original medical methods in its research for regularities, then post positivism is nearer to modern scientific approaches which recognize a degree of uncertainty. Therefore, they conclude that there surely is a real material world is present in post positivism however the knowledge creation is often socially conditioned and subject to concern and reinterpretation.
The methodologies make reference to the tools and techniques which researcher identifies acquire knowledge. Positivistic cultural knowledge lends itself to hard options for learning by being able to access unambiguous data, concrete data and guidelines and regularities (Porta and Keating, 2008). Positivistic interpersonal science aims at the finding of universal regulations of behavior for knowledge creation. These regulations can be uncovered in two distinctive ways - inductive and deductive. The inductive approach is associated with behaviourism and consists of deriving generalisations from specific observation to construct a theory (Porta and Keating, 2008). In contrast, deductive is mostly ideal for positivists in the clinical traditions and demand researcher to begin with a theory, produces a hypothesis, which is examined and examined to establish a theory (Hussey and Hussey, 1997). This is also specified by Corbetta (2003, p. 13) who declares that 'this is hypothetico-deductive method in which the study of sociable actuality utilises the conceptual framework, techniques of observation and measurement, instruments of mathematical analysis and methods of inference of the natural research'.
Porta and Keating (2008) states that it is rarely possible for positivist researcher in sociable science to carry out tests, therefore large datasets and statistical analyses are being used in order to recognize and isolates triggers and results and arrive at a single justification. They further shown that positivist arrive at a single description of a study by in the beginning framing a study question and then usually start with a hypothesis building which comes from theory and past knowledge. In order to answer the study question, positivists often choose a large number of instances to attain the maximum generalisibilty. In addition they usually utilize the words of variables because they are concerned with standard laws and want to know what factors cause which outcomes in the public life (Porta and Keating, 2008). In other words, the purpose of the positivist researcher is to take into account social functions by mention of general rules without considering individual instances as this will be accounted for within standard guidelines (Corbetta, 2003). In neo positivist procedure, matching to Porta and Keating (2008), there may be more emphasis on the way in which factors combine in different circumstances and for that reason, researchers have more and more resorted to the idea of organizations and these organizations may be expressed by means of variables. The neo positivist researcher expressed the result of context by means of institutions because they stay away from the idea of culture as it is impossible to operationalise.
As outlined above that positivistic interpersonal technology utilises the hard scientific approach that can be very helpful such as numerical models of group behaviours in shop and stadiums but there's also issues with these models. For example, it can only predict average behavior somewhat than predicting the behaviours of individuals (Fisher, 2007). There are also other issues raised by many researchers such as Robson (2002, p22-23) claims that 'research into interpersonal and institutional world cannot be value free which aspiration for interpersonal researchers to become hard scientist is not possible'. According to Porta and Keating (2008) critics also dispute that positivist's researcher does not bring normative, ideological or politics perspectives to endure on the study whereas positivists counter that if this is the case, then all such normative tendencies should be declared beforehand.
This essay is related to the contribution of positivism to the analysis of society. To address this target, the essay initially covers the task of Auguste Comte who at first introduces the term positivism. His work is considered to be always a reaction to the school of thought of Enlightenment. His work was predicated on critiquing the eighteenth hundred years philosophers who pressured the role of reason in real human affairs that were too critical of traditional institutions. His work demonstrates an accurate and value free understanding of things is possible by giving an emphasis on tangible things in the culture. The epistemological aspect of positivism area of the essay demonstrates the opportunity of knowing the world in the positivism perspective. It shows two different epistemological areas of positivism. The original or neo-positivism perspective of positivism depicts that the globe exists as a target entity which is outside the brain of the observer and the truth is considered as an external to human brains and is easily knowable. The other epistemological perspectives i. e. post positivism also keeps the same assumption as neo-positivism retains but the fact is only imperfectly knowable and therefore knowledge creation is often socially conditioned and at the mercy of struggle and reinterpretation in post positivism strategy.
The methodologies in positivism section illustrate the tools and techniques which positivist researcher uses to obtain knowledge for the opportunity of knowing the population. It demonstrates positivistic universal laws and regulations can be found out by either implementing inductive or deductive strategy. It also depicts that positivist researcher indicated the result of context in the form of institutions rather than expressing it in the context of whole world because they try to avoid the concept of culture as it is impossible to operationalise. Positivistic interpersonal science utilises the hard medical approach which is often invaluable. However, there are also some issues lifted by the analysts such as positivist researcher only anticipate the average action rather than predicting the behavior of individuals.