VOLUME 7 ISSUE 2 FALL 2021

2 6 S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 7 - 2 Fa l l 2 0 2 1 2 Positivist Approach versus Holistic Approach to Human Experience The 20 th century began in the period of boom in “positive science”, the New Enlightenment humanism and an un- precedented rise of technology in the life of society and individuals. This mental mood of the Western culture was foreshadowed by the founder of positivism, August Comte (1798–1857), whose concept was followed by a powerful and, in the past century, majority stream of philosophical per- ception of science, reason, truth and truthfulness. Positivism claims that only what is “positive”, that is factually given (as opposed to “negative” metaphysics), is open to research activ- ity. Everything else is metaphysical, transcendent, religious, and therefore, unscientific, and useless. According to positiv - ists, only those quantities that are directly experienceable and measurable ( evidence based ) make sense in science. The task of science then is to rationally harmonize the results of empirical measurements – however, without caring for any ontological background of the corresponding factual reality. In their almost religiously zealous reduction efforts (Lau- dan 1996, 17), the positivists fell into the opposite extreme through complete rejection of rational reasoning and clar- ification of concepts, statements and problems that cannot be solved or verified by experience due to their different abstraction (essences, ontological values, metaphysical and symbolic realities) and called them untrue or meaningless. However, the enlightened skepticism , the self-sufficient sci - ence of which was supposed to lead us, proved to be anoth- er form of dogmatism (Whitehead 1947) and its arrogance (Lat. superbia , the opposite of religious humility) was fully revealed at the end of the 20 th century (Crotty 2020). The current theory of science, following the falsifiability of Karl R. Popper, the theory of revolutionary paradigmatic changes of Thomas Samuel Kuhn and the epistemological anarchism of Paul Karl Feyerabend, is moving away from positivist phi- losophy. Feyerabend argues that any scientist can discover and develop their own theories regardless of inconsistencies, contradictions, and criticisms; the activity of a scientist is not subject to any rational standards. New theories are winning because of the propagandistic activity of their supporters. Science is no different from myth or religion; science is one of the forms of ideology (Rosenberg 2005, 175). According to him, science must be deprived of privileges: it should have the same rights as myth, magic, and religion in the society. The so-called post-positivists Imre Lakatos and especially Michael Polanyi developed a conception of unspoken or hid - den knowledge. Expressed knowledge in science emerges in the form of interpersonal knowledge (as concepts and theories), while unspoken knowledge – as so-called personal knowledge. The positivist attitude, which is basically based on empiricist foundations, has also spread widely to humanities, among which medical psychotherapy stands out, however, educa- tional sciences do not lag either. A manifestation of a positiv - ist approach to man (patient, client, or student) is a reduction of therapy to symptomatic treatment (removal of symptoms), which relieves the person of pain but does not relieve the cause of this pain, or reduction of education to measurable processes of acquisition of knowledge and skills. The de- mand for personality transformation, the desire for a better, more meaningful, and ultimately flourishing life disappears. Moreover, as another argument, it is not possible to method- ologically divide man into individual isolated components or aspects that would become the object of autonomous and mutually independent research and practical (educational, therapeutic, etc.) disciplines. The author holds the paradigm that it is necessary to maintain the “personal principle” in the approach to man, according to which person is a self-purpose (Immanuel Kant) with its own layered history and multidi- mensional reality, in which its individual layers and dimen- sions influence and condition each other and integrate into one unit. Already in classical Greek Platonism, the term paideia (“ed- ucation” in the broad sense, understood as an essential development involving a holistic therapeutic effect) was explained as “ care for the soul ” (Gr. epimeleia pari tes psyches ),

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