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A philosophical theory of knowledge associated with the 19th-century French philosopher Auguste Comte. It holds that the observable, or "positive," data of sense experience consititute the sole basis for assertions about matters of fact; only the truths of logic and mathematics are additionally admitted. The speculative claims of theology and metaphysics, regarded as the primitive antecedents of "positive" or scientific thought, are discounted. See also logical positivism.

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