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Positivism is a philosophy of science based on the view 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 scientific knowledge. Verified data received from the senses are known as empirical evidence. Introspective and intuitive knowledge is rejected. This kind of positivism is not to be confused with positive law, the main alternative to natural law.[1]

Positivism was originally taught by Auguste Comte (1798-1857). According to him, man's knowledge of all subjects passes through three stages (theological, metaphysical and positive). Contemporary positivism seeks to apply the experimental methods of the natural sciences to the study of the problems of human action. The maxim of positivists is that science is measurement.[2]


  1. Rothbard, Murray (1982). "Natural Law versus Positive Law". The Ethics of Liberty. http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/three.asp. 
  2. Percy L. Greaves, Jr. "Mises Made Easier ", 1974. Referenced 2014-08-20.