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Positivism in human geography |Perspectives in Human Geography | Human Geography UPSC |Geography optional notes

Positivism (प्रत्‍यक्षवाद) in human geography

Positivism is a philosophical thought, where assertions ( or philosophical approaches) are validated by the use of logic, science, maths, facts, etc. Positivism came into existence after the French revolution (1789) and is developed by Auguste Compte ( 1798-1857). Positivism rejects those philosophical thoughts which are based on emotions and imagination. 

Positivism thought was developed by Auguste Comte (1798-1857), however, it was introduced in the 1950s in geography.  The importance of positivism in geography was given between the 1950s and to 1980s along with the quantitative revolution. However, after the 1980s, more criticism was developed of Positivism thought.

As per Auguste Comte, the development of social or individual thought happened in three phases:

In phase one, initially, society or individuals believe that each and every natural event is done by God. Each event happening in society is pre-decided by god.
In the second phase, historical facts, Karma philosophy, etc are used to validate the event. In Indian society, it has a strong belief that people suffered or gained because of his/her previous life karma.
In the third phase, research is being done on the finding of the event cause. Scientific methods like experience, inspection, test, and classification are used to validate the events like day-night, seasonal changes, rainfall, solar, and lunar eclipse, tsunamis, tides, and earthquakes.

The following are the main points of positivism: 
There is no place for religious or cultural data to investigate the phenomenon as the religious or cultural data is not logically and scientifically correct. 
For example, 
Positivism rejects the caste system and untouchability as it can not be proved to be logically correct in modern society.
Positivism also rejects women's inferiority, as biologically women are very strong.

Positivism is based on the “Facts speak themselves” Philosophy. Data and fact analysis are done in each assertion. If you say, Singapore is a developed country, then Positivism people will not believe this fact rather they will check facts & figures on each assertion, then the assertion will be validated.
Positivism supported simple, easy, and mathematical language to investigate the event.
Criticism of positivism thought: 
In the positivist approach, there is no place for human feelings, emotions, and beliefs; the positivist approach emphasized that observation should be value-free and based on mathematical analysis. However,  it is very difficult to implement the positivism approach. So, the positivist approach in geography is an idealistic approach that is far away from a practical and realistic approach. In our life, human values, human feelings, subjective nature of humans place important roles in decision making which is not as per the positivist approach.

All the events and facts can not be proved by logic and maths, so positivism though is not applicable to all subject matters.
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