Last Updated 26 Mar 2020

Positivism: Strict Scientific Method

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Positivism is a philosophy that stated that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only come from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific method. The main thrust of the positivist research tends to follow certain scientific and measurable methods to conduct a research. A positivist approach is one that is considered objective, detached and if I may put that way, structured by the researcher's views who test a hypothesis.

It is usually associated with quantitative data collection methods and statistical analysis. The positivist researcher try to be at a value free, unbiased and neutral in all respect while conducting the researcher under the assumptions positivism. “Using scientific method and language to investigate and write about human experience is supposed to keep the research free of the values, passions, politics and ideology of the researcher. This approach to research is called positivist, or positivist-empiricist and it is the dominant one among the general public. (Anne B Ryan) Positivism sees social science as an organized method for combining deductive logic with precise empirical observations of individual behavior in order to discover and confirm a set of probabilistic causal laws that can be used to predict general patterns of human activity.

On the same time positivism approach found to be inefficient when we include social structure of society, life complexity and other problem which can’t be covered when we try to use the quantitative methods to conduct the research. This scientific approach which positivism espouses is rightly thought to be inadequate when it comes to learning about how people live, how they view the world, how they cope with it, how they change it, and so on. ”(Anne B Ryan) In the positivism only those topics has been selected those having a public sphere and with the blend of mathematical and technical advantage because research characterized by these norms considered to be efficient and reliable in the positivism playground. Marxism, relies on experiments and verification, objective experience, history, scientific logic and reasoning for acquiring knowledge.

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Marxism is wholly science oriented because truth based on experiments and verification is its basis — its entire structure rests on scientific experiments, and scientific truth. Marxism holds that on the question of knowing truth science is far more powerful than the power of an individual. Under Marxian approach it is only rational to depend upon science rather than on the belief Orientalism is a form of cultural studies in which the concept of orientalism or the difference between east and west is base of the theory.

With the start of European colonization the Europeans came in contact with the lesser developed countries of the east. They found their civilization and culture very exotic, and established the science of orientalism, which was the study of the orientals or the people from these exotic civilization. In this process Europeans divided the world into two parts; the east and the west or the occident and the orient or the civilized and the uncivilized. This was totally an artificial boundary; and it was laid on the basis of the concept of them and us or theirs and ours. The Europeans used orientalism to define themselves.

Some particular attributes were associated with the orientals, and whatever the orientals weren’t the occidents were. The Europeans defined themselves as the superior race compared to the orientals; and they justified their colonization by this concept. They said that it was their duty towards the world to civilize the uncivilized world. The main problem, however, arose when the Europeans started generalizing the attributes they associated with orientals, and started portraying these artificial characteristics associated with orientals in their western world through their scientific reports, literary work, and other media sources.

What happened was that it created a certain image about the orientals in the European mind and in doing that infused a bias in the European attitude towards the orientals. This prejudice was also found in the orientalists and all their scientific research and reports were under the influence of this. The generalized attributes associated with the orientals can be seen even today, for example, the Arabs are defined as uncivilized people; and Islam is seen as religion of the terrorist. Another feature of orientalism was that the culture of the orientals was explained to the European audience by linking them to the western culture.

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