Positivism is a philosophy of science based on the view that information derived from logical and mathematical treatments and reports of sensory experience is the exclusive source of all authoritative knowledge, that there is valid knowledge (truth) only in scientific knowledge. Verified data received from the senses is known as empirical evidence. This view, when applied to the social as to the natural sciences, holds that society operates according to general laws like the physical world. Introspective and intuitive knowledge is rejected.
Though the positivist approach has been a recurrent theme in the history of Western thought, modern sense of the approach was developed by the philosopher and founding sociologist Auguste Comte in the early 19th century. Comte argued that, much as the physical world operates according to gravity and other absolute laws, so also does society.