Positivism and it’s critics

Influenced by rationalism and science early sociologists attempted yo define the subject matter and the method in scientific and objective terms.

Saint Simon, August Comte, Spencer, and Durkheim laid the foundation of Positivistic theory. They contended that Sociology is governed by certain fixed rules and hence is predictive.

Positivism aims at employing principles similar to the natural science, as Saint Simon in his book Positive Philosophy said “Positivism was rooted in a science of society which is analoguous to the natural science.”

As per this approach behavior of man can be objectively measured and statements based on objective measures of cause and effects can be used to formulate theories. Comte stated that “the search for laws of society uses both reason as well as observation.” He also suggested four methods to study this discipline viz. Observation, Experimentation, Historical and Comparative. He defined scope of new positive social science as Social dynamic (which deals with social change) and social statics (which deals with equilibrium and stability of social system).
– emphasised on behavior that can be directly observed. Factors like feeling which cannot be directly observed are not important.
-gave primacy to cause and effect relationship while studying phenomenon.
-focused upon empericism and rejected commonsensical speculation.
-focused on formulation of theories and universality of laws and principles.
-stressed upon the use of scientific methods similar to those used in natural sciences, based upon the knowledge and theories, it also talked about predictability of social events. For example Comte believed that he has discovered a law of social organization, which can predict future course of evolution of societies.
-also argued that social knowledge should be testable.

Thus Positivism glorified the idea that human behavior and working of Society is predictable and like natural sciences, it can also be quantified in concrete terms. They tried to make Sociology as a scientific discipline.
However, soon it was realised that Sociology dealt with human element with a subjective conscience which cannot be deciphered totally by the objective methods.
Positivist approach failed on the parameters of objectivity, quantifiability, universal testability, and inter-subjective reliability and came under following major criticism-
1) phenomenologist like Peter Berger contended that facts never fall from sky, but develop in a particular context.
2) deductive approach is less fruitfull instead inductive approach found more helpful
3) Positivism also criticised on their over emphasis on universalism which is not possible in Sociology.
4) Positivism was also considered a fundamental misunderstanding of reality. Things like common sense, ethical values, assumptions and preasumptions, feelings were not undertaken.

Hence, in the word of Habermas, “Positivism loses sight of the actors reducing them to passive entities determined by natural forces.” As an actor in society is distinct, the idea of general science can not be applied without taking into account the autonomous human action.
However, one big achievement of Positivist was that, they freed social sciences from the clutches of religion and speculative philosophy and laid a solid foundation of a systematic investigation in society.

Assam migration and NRC

Why this question

With the deadline for final draft of the Supreme Court-monitored National Register of Citizens (NRC) nears, it is prudent to understand the issue of migration in Assam and how far NRC can resolve the issues.

Key demand of the question

In the first part of the question, we have to throw light on the history of migration, the communities who migrated and the issues it has created. In the subsequent part, we need to examine whether NRC will resolve issues or create new ones.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic, get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give an overview of the current situation to explain why this question.

Body – In the first part, examine the nature of migration. Mention the history of migration – in 8th century Turks and Arab traders and sailors came to the Brahmaputra Valley and settled in the Darrang region, during British time, how tea plantation workers from other parts were taken to Assam pre independence, migration from Bangladesh etc. Highlight the issues arising out of migration – demography change, resource crunch, struggle for political power etc

In the subsequent part, explain the need for NRC, and the pros and cons of its implementation.

Conclusion – present your view on NRC and way forward

Hindu 5 july

  • Bru community to get voting right
  • Bolivia to build museum under ‘sacred lake’
  • Hawaii to become 1 US state to ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate sunscreens – these two can be harmful to beach corals
  • Rajani Thiranagama -activist who speak out against both sinhala chauvanism and the LTTE narrow nationalism
  • Union cabinet approved accession to the WIPO copyright treaty which extends coverage of copyright to the internet and digital environment
  • Moody’s survey shows oil prices as the main risk to India’s economy
  • Union cabinet approved DNA profiling bill
  • ISRO pad abort test

Who is running the north block now?

The question pops up in everyone’s mind, provided they follow Ministry of Finance.

With a day or two, after the resignation of renowed economist and Former Chief Economic advisor, Arvind Subramanium. The question comes to mind is who is running the ministry, is it Goel Saab or Arun Jaitley?. With latter being diagnosed recently and blogging frequently. :p

Theories/ rumours includes,

1) is there any media proxy war between Goyal Saab and Jaitley ji?

2) may be media turnishing the image of both

Anyways rumours are just ****

But the man who made a scapegoat of it is Arvind Subramanium. Who just quit and ran from beautiful north block hills to discharge his family obligations. Which we should respect with no objection.

Again a failure in the feather of Modi govt., unable to find a suitable candidate for Chief statistian. Earlier in the list being a long struggle by the Modi govt. to find a suitable candidate for RBI(mint road) deputy governor post which is being counted as crucial, offcourse it is key post to handle issues related to banking supervision. Which being taken care after the long list of scams.

Let’s look at the key things which garnered the relationship between CEA and Jaitley ji

1) advocated microeconomic strategy to resolve the Twin balance sheet challenge (which is still bugging the Indian banking system)

2) yes off course worked with govt. to strategize GST from GST council to GST rates shoulder to shoulder with bureaucrats

3) JAM (Jan dhan-Adhaar-Mobile) trinity farsighted vision of Modi to eradicate corruption in the system.

4) and Missing girls in the Economic survey which every Indian knew but have less courage to speak about/less talked about.

Over all the term of Arvind sir was good one. He is the one who has respect across party line and a happy boss (which one ?)

Anyways, with 56′ chest PM, let’s see how quickly we will be able to find a suitable candidate for CEA.


Till sometime Mr. Anonymous.