Critique of Positivism
Positivism’s underlying tenets, however, faced scathing criticism. According to some academics, it is essential to consider the particular meanings, reasons, and values that underpin such behavior to have a thorough knowledge of man’s social behavior. Initially, anti-positivist academics like Wilhelm Dilthey, Wilhelm Windelband, and Heinrich Rickert promoted this viewpoint.
Later, Weber added the claim that human behavior in society is fundamentally distinct from that of inanimate objects and living things. In contrast to matter, he said, humans have consciousness, including thoughts, emotions, meanings, intentions, and a sense of self. Weber takes concrete social action as a result of this. He clarifies circumstances and adds context to his acts and those of others. Consequently, he acts rather than just responding to outside stimuli or behaving. Therefore, since subjective meanings are the source of action, it follows that to comprehend action, a sociologist must learn what those meanings are. He can’t just see something happening from the outside and try to apply some external logic to it. He has to grasp the actor’s mental reasoning for action. These opinions make up the fundamental presuppositions of social action methodologies.
Weberian, symbolic interactionists, phenomenologists, and ethnomethodologists have attacked the positivist methodology. Additionally, critics of positivism cast doubt on the positivists’ belief that it is possible to draw broad generalizations about human behavior. According to particular anti-positivist academics, only a few generalizations may be feasible given the variety and dynamism of human behavior. However, scholars from the phenomenological and ethnomethodological traditions reject even the possibility of this.
Positive thinking has faced positivism from several other directions.
- In sociology, positivism has fallen short of expectations since no universal rules have been established.
- Because people have free choices and are not subject to immutable rules, positivism is an inadequate method for studying human civilization.
- Science’s “truths” are just as ideologically polluted as other belief systems, and science itself is not as neutral as it purports to be.