Positivism

Positivism, the philosophy so called of Auguste Comte (q.v.), the aim of which is to propound a new arrangement of the sciences and a new theory of the evolution of science; the sciences he classes under the categories of abstract and concrete, and his law of evolution is that every department of knowledge passes in the history of it through three successive stages, and only in the last of which it is entitled to the name of science—the Theological stage, in which everything is referred to the intervention of the gods; the Metaphysical, in which everything is referred to an abstract idea; and the Positive, which, discarding at once theology and philosophy, contents itself with the study of phenomena and their sequence, and regards that as science proper. Thus is positivism essentially definable, in Dr. Stirling's words, as “a method which replaces all outlying agencies, whether Theological deities or Metaphysical entities, by Positive laws; which laws, and in their phenomenal relativity, as alone what can be known, ought alone to constitute what is sought to be known.” See Dr. Stirling's “Schwegler.”

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

Posidonius * Posse Comitatus
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