Does Arendt believe in positivism, in using our senses and empirical evidence instead of traditionalism to acquire knowledge?

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thetall | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Hannah Arendt did not explicitly reject positivism; however she saw it as over-reliance on observable facts and the undermining of human mental phenomena. She attempted to distinguish between several underlying factors: wisdom vs. knowledge and truth vs. meaning.

Positivism asserts that information can only be sourced from logical conclusions and what can be experienced through the senses or empirical evidence. This line of philosophy disregards the mental phenomenon of intuition and introspection and conflicts sharply with the idea that knowledge can be acquired without inference or rational thinking.

Arendt agrees that it is thinking that has enabled man to understand what the senses communicate and it plays an important role in reasoning and the development of meaning. She also agrees that mental phenomena are important in solving and correcting some of the existing scientific flaws. She asserts that thinking for the purpose of gathering truth is a mistake; instead thinking should be employed with the aim of gathering knowledge.