The idea (analysis based on observation) appears in Ibn al-
Haytham's 11th Century text “Book of Optics”
Positivism - an approach to the philosophy of science, deriving
from Enlightenment thinkers (Voltaire, Rossaueu, Kant)
Logical positivism - a school of philosophy developed in the
1920s by the Vienna Circle (Moritz Schlick)
Social positivism - in social sciences, an approach to
understanding the world based on science (Auguste Comte)
Postpositivism - a philosophical stance following positivism
Positivism is a philosophy that states that the only
authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that
such knowledge can only come from positive
affirmation of theories through strict scientific method.
It was developed by Auguste Comte (1798 – 1857).
He was a French thinker who coined the term
"sociology." He is remembered for being the first to
apply the scientific method to the social world.
7. “The law of three stages”
An idea developed by Auguste Comte. It states that
knowledge of any subject always begins in theologic
form, passes to the metaphysical form, and finally
The Theologic form refers to explanation by spirits,
The Metaphysical form refers to explanation by
abstract philosophical explanation.
Positivity refers to scientific explanation based on
observation, experiment, and comparison.
Karl Popper, a well-known critic of logical positivism,
published the book Logik der Forschung in 1934
In it he presented an influential alternative to the
verifiability criterion of meaning, defining scientific
statements in terms of falsifiability.
9. Some key features of modern positivism
(sometimes referred to as “the received view of science”):
A focus on science as a product, a linguistic or numerical set
A concern with demonstrating the logical structure and
coherence of these statements
An insistence on that statements should be testable, that is
amenable to being verified, confirmed, or falsified by the
empirical observation of reality;
10. The belief that science is markedly cumulative
The belief that science is transcultural;
The belief that science rests on specific results that are
dissociated from the personality and social position of the
The belief that science contains theories or research traditions
that are largely commensurable;
The belief that science involves the idea of the unity of
science, that there is, underlying the various scientific
disciplines, basically one logic of scientific inquiry about one
- the goal of inquiry is to explain and predict.
scientific knowledge is testable. research can be
proved only by empirical means, not argumentations
-science does not equal common sense. Researchers
must be careful not to let common sense bias their
- relation of theory to practice - science should be as
value-free as possible, and the ultimate goal of
science is to produce knowledge, regardless of
politics, morals, values, etc. involved in the research.
12. Critique of Positivism
Exclusion of meaning and purpose
Etic (outsider) / Emic (insider) dilemma
General data vs. individual cases
Exclusion of discovery dimension (hyp-ded)
13. Critique of Positivism
Facts impregnated by theory/ paradigm/ discourse
Underdetermination of theory
(Facts are always open for different interpretations)
Facts are impregnated by values
Facts dependent on inquirer-inquired interaction
Essentially, hermeneutics involves cultivating the
ability to understand things from somebody else's
point of view, and to appreciate the cultural and
social forces that may have influenced their outlook.
The word hermeneutics is a term derived from
'Ερμηνεύς, (hermeneuo, 'translate' or 'interpret‘),
related to the name of the Greek god Hermes in his
role as the interpreter of the messages of the gods.
Hermeneutics in the Western world, as a general science of
text interpretation, can be traced back to two sources.
One source was the ancient Greek rhetoricians' study of
literature, which came to fruition in Alexandria.
The other source has been the traditions of Biblical exegesis
The discipline of hermeneutics emerged with the new
humanist education of the 15th century as a historical and
critical methodology for analyzing texts.
Thus hermeneutics expanded from its medieval role
explaining the correct analysis of the Bible.
Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768 – 1834) explored the nature of
understanding in relation not just to the problem of
deciphering sacred texts, but to all human texts and modes of
Wilhelm Dilthey broadened hermeneutics even more by
relating interpretation to all historical objectifications.
Understanding moves from the outer manifestations of human
action and productivity to explore their inner meaning
Martin Heidegger's philosophical hermeneutics shifted the
focus from interpretation to existential understanding, which
was treated more as a direct, non-mediated, thus in a sense
more authentic way of being in the world than simply as a
way of knowing.
Hans-Georg Gadamer's hermeneutics is a development of the
hermeneutics of his teacher, Heidegger.
Paul Ricoeur developed a hermeneutics based on Heidegger's
concepts, although his own work differs in many ways from
that of Gadamer's
Jürgen Habermas criticized the conservatism of previous
hermeneutics, especially Gadamer, because the focus on
tradition seemed to undermine possibilities for social criticism
18. Critical theory
Critical theory was defined by Max Horkheimer of the
Frankfurt School of social science in his 1937 essay
“Traditional and Critical Theory”:
Critical theory is a social theory oriented toward critiquing and
changing society as a whole, in contrast to traditional theory
oriented only to understanding or explaining it.
Jürgen Habermas in 1968 in his Erkenntnis und Interesse
(Knowledge and Human Interests), critical social theory is
a form of self-reflective knowledge involving both understanding
and theoretical explanation to reduce entrapment in systems of
domination or dependence, obeying the emancipatory interest in
expanding the scope of autonomy and reducing the scope of
19. Critical theory
Core concepts are:
(1) That critical social theory should be directed at the totality of
society in its historical specificity (i.e. how it came to be
configured at a specific point in time), and
(2) That critical theory should improve understanding of society
by integrating all the major social sciences, including economics,
sociology, history, political science, anthropology, and
Although this conception of critical theory originated with
the Frankfurt School, it also prevails among other recent
social scientists, such as Pierre Bourdieu, Louis Althusser,
Michel Foucault, Norman Fairclaugh as well as critical
feminist social scientists.
(or inductive reasoning, sometimes called inductive logic),
Induction or inductive reasoning, sometimes called
inductive logic, is the process of reasoning in which the
premises of an argument are believed to support the
conclusion but do not entail it; i.e. they do not ensure its
Induction is a form of reasoning that makes generalizations
based on individual instances
21. Types of inductive reasoning
A generalisation (more accurately, an inductive generalisation)
proceeds from a premise about a sample to a conclusion about the
The proportion (p) of the sample has attribute A.
The proportion (P) of the population has attribute A.
How great the support which the premises provide for the conclusion
is dependent on
(a) the number of individuals in the sample group compared to the
number in the population; and
(b) the randomness of the sample.
The hasty generalisation and biased sample are fallacies related to
22. Types of inductive reasoning
A statistical syllogism proceeds from a generalization to a
conclusion about an individual.
A proportion (p) of population P has attribute A.
An individual I is a member of P.
There is a probability which corresponds to (p) that I has A.
23. Types of inductive reasoning
Simple induction proceeds from a premise about a sample
group to a conclusion about another individual.
Proportion (p) of the known instances of population P has
Individual I is another member of P.
There is a probability corresponding to (p) that I has A.
This is a combination of a generalization and a statistical
syllogism, where the conclusion of the generalization is also
the first premise of the statistical syllogism.
24. Types of inductive reasoning
An (inductive) analogy proceeds from known similarities
between two things to a conclusion about an additional
attribute common to both things.
P is similar to Q.
P has attribute A.
Q has attribute A.
An analogy relies on the inference that the properties known to be
shared (the similarities) imply that A is also a shared property. The
support which the premises provide for the conclusion is dependent
upon the relevance and number of the similarities between P and Q.
The fallacy related to this process is false analogy.
25. Types of inductive reasoning
A prediction draws a conclusion about a future individual
from a past sample.
Proportion (p) of observed members of group G have had
There is a probability corresponding to (p) that other
members of group G will have attribute A when observed
in the (near) future.
26. Types of inductive reasoning
A causal inference draws a conclusion about a causal
connection based on the conditions of the occurrence of an
The two factors (or variables) X and Y co-variates
X is the cause of Y
Premises about the correlation of two things can indicate a
causal relationship between them, but additional factors
must be confirmed to establish the exact form of the causal
27. Induction - criticism
Historically, Sextus Empiricus (c. 160-210 AD), questioned
how the truth of the Universals can be established by
examining some of the Particulars. Examining all the
particulars is difficult as they are infinite in number.
David Hume (1711 – 1776) denied the logical admissibility
of inductive reasoning, in particular concerning causality.
During the twentieth century, Karl Popper (1902-1994)
have disputed the existence, necessity and validity of any
inductive reasoning, including probabilistic reasoning.
Scientists still rely on induction nevertheless.
That, however, is exactly what Popper and dispute.
Scientists cannot rely on induction simply because it does
not exist, he is arguing.
28. Deductive reasoning
is the kind of reasoning where the conclusion is
necessitated by previously known premises.
If the premises are true then the conclusion must be true.
For instance, beginning with the premises "sharks are fish"
and "all fish have fins", you may conclude that "sharks
This is distinguished from inductive reasoning and
abductive reasoning where inferences can be made with
some likelihood but never with complete certainty.
Deductive reasoning is dependent on its premises.
That is, a false premise can possibly lead to a false result,
and inconclusive premises will also yield an inconclusive
29. Deductive reasoning
All men are mortal (major premise),
Socrates is a man (minor premise),
Therefore Socrates is mortal.
Note that replacing "mortal" with any nonsensical property
will not affect the (logical) validity of the argument:
All men are idiots,
Socrates is a man,
Therefore Socrates is an idiot
30. Deductive reasoning
Falsifiability (or refutability or testability)
is the logical possibility that an assertion can be shown
false by an observation or a physical experiment.
"Falsifiable" does not mean false; rather, it means that
something is capable of disproof.
When an assertion has been shown to be false, then some
contrary examples or exceptions to the assertion have been
demonstrated, observed or shown. Falsifiability is an
important concept in science and the philosophy of science.
Some philosophers and scientists, most notably Karl
Popper, have asserted that a hypothesis, proposition or
theory is scientific only if it is falsifiable.
31. Falsifiability - the criterion of demarcation?
Popper uses falsification as a criterion of demarcation to draw
a sharp line between those theories that are scientific and those
that are unscientific. Popper claimed that, if a theory is
falsifiable, then it is scientific; if it is not falsifiable, then it is
not open to scientific investigation.
We may agree with this or not but it is always useful to
know if a statement or theory is (potentially) falsifiable,
if for no other reason than that it provides us with an
understanding of the ways in which one might assess the
theory. One might at the least be saved from attempting to
falsify a non-falsifiable theory, or come to see an
unfalsifiable theory as unsupportable.
or inference to the best explanation, is a method of reasoning
in which one chooses the hypothesis that would, if true,
best explain the relevant evidence.
Abductive reasoning starts from a set of accepted (often
counter-intuitive) facts and infers to their most likely, or
The philosopher Charles Peirce introduced abduction into
modern logic. In his works before 1900, he mostly uses the
term to mean the use of a known rule to explain an
observation, e.g., “if it rains the grass is wet” is a known
rule used to explain that the grass is wet. In other words, it
would be more technically correct to say, "If the grass is
wet, the most probable explanation is that it recently
He later used the term to mean creating new hypothesis to
explain new observations, emphasizing that abduction is the
only logical process that actually creates anything new.
34. Methods for comparative causal analysis
Method of agreement (Comparing most different cases)
"If two or more instances of the phenomenon under investigation have only one
circumstance in common, the circumstance in which alone all the instances
agree, is the cause (or effect) of the given phenomenon."
For a property to be a necessary condition it must always be present if the
effect is present. Since this is so, then we are interested in looking at
cases where the effect is present and taking note of which properties,
among those considered to be 'possible necessary conditions' are
present and which are absent. Obviously, any properties which are
absent when the effect is present cannot be necessary conditions for the
Symbolically, the method of agreement can be represented as:
A B C D occur together with w x y z
A E F G occur together with w t u v
Therefore A is the cause, the effect, or part of the cause of w.
35. Methods for comparative causal analysis
Method of difference (Comparing most similar cases)
“If an instance in which the phenomenon under investigation occurs, and
an instance in which it does not occur, have every circumstance in
common save one, that one occurring only in the former; the
circumstance in which alone the two instances differ, is the effect, or
the cause, or an indispensable part of the cause, of the phenomenon.”
A B C D occur together with w x y z
B C D occur together with w y z
Therefore A is the cause, or the effect, or a part of the cause of x.