positivism

noun
pos·​i·​tiv·​ism | \ ˈpä-zə-ti-ˌvi-zəm How to pronounce positivism (audio) , ˈpäz-ti- \

Definition of positivism

1a : a theory that theology and metaphysics are earlier imperfect modes of knowledge and that positive knowledge is based on natural phenomena and their properties and relations as verified by the empirical sciences
2 : the quality or state of being positive

Other Words from positivism

positivist \ ˈpä-​zə-​ti-​vist How to pronounce positivism (audio) , ˈpäz-​ti-​ \ adjective or noun
positivistic \ ˌpä-​zə-​ti-​ˈvi-​stik How to pronounce positivism (audio) , ˌpäz-​ti-​ \ adjective
positivistically \ ˌpä-​zə-​ti-​ˈvi-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce positivism (audio) , ˌpäz-​ti-​ \ adverb

Examples of positivism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This perspective better recalls late-19th-century positivism or the more dogmatic materialists of the Enlightenment. Jeffrey Collins, WSJ, 18 Mar. 2022 Another episode involves Herbert Croly, a co-founder of the New Republic magazine, who grew up in a home devoted to the religion of humanity preached by Auguste Comte, the French philosopher best known for his advocacy of positivism. D.g. Hart, WSJ, 21 Jan. 2022 Auguste Comte, the French founder of positivism, was among the first to work out his own set of religious rites for rationalists. Chris Lehmann, The New Republic, 3 Nov. 2021 Scalia’s legal approach adheres closely to the theory of legal positivism, which in its modern form goes back to the English philosopher John Austin (1790–1859). Noah Feldman, The New York Review of Books, 17 Dec. 2020 The rising social media company was at the vanguard of America’s embrace of tech positivism. Washington Post, 26 Oct. 2021 Legal positivism depicts law as a set of rules determined by factual description of existing laws and institutions, without reference to normative moral arguments about what the law should be. Noah Feldman, The New York Review of Books, 17 Dec. 2020 Scalia’s legal approach adheres closely to the theory of legal positivism, which in its modern form goes back to the English philosopher John Austin (1790–1859). Noah Feldman, The New York Review of Books, 17 Dec. 2020 Scalia’s legal approach adheres closely to the theory of legal positivism, which in its modern form goes back to the English philosopher John Austin (1790–1859). Noah Feldman, The New York Review of Books, 17 Dec. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'positivism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of positivism

1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for positivism

French positivisme, from positif positive + -isme -ism

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The first known use of positivism was in 1842

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Dictionary Entries Near positivism

positive valence

positivism

positivity

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Cite this Entry

“Positivism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/positivism. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on positivism

Britannica English: Translation of positivism for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about positivism

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