Positivists emphasize that the observable “facts” are mainly due to the belief that human behavior can be explained in the same way as material behavior.
Natural scientists do not study the meaning and purpose of matter because of obvious reasons why it does not exist. Atoms and molecules do not function according to their meaning. They respond to external stimuli.
Therefore, if the external stimulus of heat is applied to the substance, the substance will react. The job of a natural scientist is to observe, measure, and then explain this reaction. The positivist approach to human social behavior applies a similar logic.
Men respond to external stimuli, and their behavior can be explained by this response, say, for example, men and women marry and have children in response to the needs of society. Society needs this kind of behavior to survive, and its members only respond to this request.
The meaning and purpose they give to this behavior are largely irrelevant. System theory in sociology adopts a positivist approach.
Once the behavior is seen as a response to some external stimulus, such as the requirements of economic forces or social systems, the methods and assumptions of natural science seem to be suitable for studying people.
Since then, Marxism has been regarded as a positivist method. It can be said that he believes that human behavior is a response to the stimulus of economic infrastructure. The functionalism concept is also viewed similarly.
The behavior of social members can be seen as a response to the functional premises of the social system.
Until the mid-nineteenth century, the study of society and social phenomena used to be carried out based on speculation, logic, theology, and rational thinking analysis.
The French philosopher Auguste Comte described these methods as insufficient and inadequate in studying social life.
In 1848, he proposed positive law in the field of social studies. He believes that social phenomena should not be studied through logic or theological principles (or) metaphysical theories but through society itself and the structure of social relations.
For example, he uses the social forces that dominate society to explain poverty. He described this research method as scientific. Comte believes that the scientific method called positivism is the most suitable tool for social research.
This new methodology rejects speculation and philosophical methods. It focuses on the collection of empirical data and becomes a positivist methodology, using certain methods similar to those used in natural sciences. In the 1930s, positivism prevailed in the United States, and other countries gradually followed suit.