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The Positive Mind
Its Development and Impact on Modernity and Postmodernity

Evaldas Nekrašas, Professor of Philosophy at Vilnius University, Lithuania

This book is a radical reappraisal of positivism as a major movement in philosophy, science and culture. In examining positivist movement and its contemporary impact, the author had six goals.

First, to provide a more precise and systematic definition of the notion of positivism. Second, to describe positivism as a trend of thought concerned not only with the theory of knowledge and philosophy of science, but also with problems of ethics, social, and political philosophy. Third, to examine the development of positivism as a movement: it was born in the 18th century during the Enlightenment, took the form of social positivism in the 19th century, was transformed at the turn of the 20th century with the emergence of empirio-criticism, and became logical positivism (or logical empiricism) in the 20th century. Fourth, to reveal the external and internal factors of this evolution. Fifth, to disclose the relation of positivism to other trends of philosophy. Sixth, to determine the influence the positive mind had upon other cultural phenomena, such as the natural and social sciences, law, politics, arts, religion, and everyday life.

"Evaldas Nekrašas has done a timely service to us all in bringing our attention the role of the positivistic tradition, not only as a philosophical movement, but also in its wider significance. Many relatively recent writers in the analytical tradition have been speaking as if philosophy is only now finally getting rid of the restrictive views of logical positivism. Yet it would not be much more accurate historically to see us witnessing the end of the critical reaction strict positivism represented in different ways by Kuhn, Popper, Lakatos and Quine etc. Nekrašas gives a judicious evaluation of their ideas compared with archetypical positivist, and by so doing reaches more balanced perspective on the history of philosophy and history of ideas." - Jaakko Hintikka, Philosopher (1929 – 2015)

2016, 382 pages
978-963-386-081-6 cloth
$65.00/ €49.00 / £41.00

"The author does not want to confine positivism to an intellectual category but rather wants to expand the
word’s application to include any kind of what he calls positive thinking and behavior. He speaks, for instance, of the reification and materialization of the positive mind in the artifacts of contemporary technological civilization. Cars, computers, skyscrapers, etc., which have been built using scientific knowledge, are the embodiments of the positive mind.
The span of the project, from philosophy to material culture, shows how ambitious the book is. It begins with a definition of positivism, moves to the narration of particular expressions of positivism in the history of thought, from Hume to Logical Positivism, considers positivism in juxtaposition to other philosophical schools and traditions (e.g., Marxism, pragmatism, critical theory, critical rationalism, analytic philosophy, historical philosophy of science, Nietzsche and Heidegger, postmodern authors) and concludes with the influence of the positive mind on cultural phenomena such as law, science, art, politics, religion and everyday life.
The most original part of the book is the part devoted to the impact of positivism on its critics and rivals.
The book addresses a general audience and is informative and quite thorough in that respect". - Metascience

"The fundamental virtue of Nekrašas’s work is his clear realization that positivism is far more influential than all disavowals would make it seem. Indeed, as Nekrašas rightly argues, positivism silently continues to color research programs and theories across the social sciences and humanities. What Nekrašas dubs the 'positive mind' (or the philosophical attitude of positivism) is still far more relevant and influential than many would like to admit.
Nekrašas is at his best lucidly reconstructing numerous philosophies within the larger stream of the positivist tradition and drawing interesting distinctions between the many varieties of positivism (including socially progressive nineteenthcentury forms versus more logically technical forms in the twentieth). He also is admirably aware of the fact that positivism has always been a deeply political movement, with strong ambitions to either radically change or substantively reform major features of human social and ethical life by enthroning the sciences as authoritative." - The Review of Politics