The story

History Dictionary


Positivism

Current of thought emerged in the 19th century, whose main exponent was Auguste Comte. His philosophy was based on the law of the three states of humanity's intellectual development. The first step is the moment when humans are governed by abstractions, such as theology. In the second, they already make use of science, but are not freed from previous abstractions. Finally, the so-called positive stage, science is fully developed. The positivists believed that much of society was still in the first state. Thus, it was up to them, as members of the final level, to instruct the rest of the population. Interestingly, this theory, like social Darwinism, helped to justify imperialism. In the case of Brazil, positivism was present in the republican movement, especially among the military. The ideas of order and progress - mirrored in the Brazilian flag - are positivist slogans: it was believed that progress was the way to reach the third and final stage of development, but could only be achieved through order.

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