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... The Principles of Positivism: Do they still guide the design of social survey research Background Auguste Compte’s treatise ‘The in PositivePhilosophy’ first introduced the terms ‘positivism’ and ‘positive philosophy’ that are considered symbols of a recognised mode of thought, and which, according to Mill, are better known through the enemies of this mode of thinking, rather than due to its adherents (1882). Compte himself regarded Francis Bacon, Descartes and Galileo as antecedents of his concept of human knowledge; he defined his version of ‘positive philosophy’ stating that the only existing knowledge is the one of phenomena, and that this knowledge is not absolute but relative, hence, what is...