The term positivism can be traced back to Enlightenment thinkers such as Pierre Simon De Laplace and David Hume and was adopted by Auguste Comte in the 19th century to designate a philosophical movement which held that science is the only kind of valid knowledge and that empirical facts are the only possible objects or building blocks of knowledge. It held that humanistic areas such as ethics, politics, and religion would be meaningless unless they could become scientific disciplines. Logical positivism or logical empiricism, the dominant form of positivism usually viewed as coextensive with positivism in general, developed out of discussions held by the Vienna Circle, a group growing out of the analytical tradition and composed of Austrian and German philosophers, which began in the ...

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