Positivist Dispute in German Sociology

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The symposiasts were primarily concerned to make their positions in general theoretically com- mensurable. Friedeburg and the author on the philosophy of science in the summer semester of It must be restated in advance here thltt ' Popper and Albert distance themselves from the specific position of logical positivism. The reason why they arc nevertheless regarded as positivists should be evident from what follows. Adomo', see below, p. ADORNO several participants in the discussion who asserted their estrange- ment from philosophy-an estrangement which, in some cases, has only recently been acquired.

The dialecticians have explicit recourse to philosophy, but the methodological interests of the positivists are hardly less alien to naively practised research activity. Both speakers, however, ought to plead guilty to one genuine lack which obstructed the discussion. Both failed to achieve the complete mediation of their theoretical interests with sociology as such.

Much of what they said referred to science in general. A degree of bad abstraction is posited in all epistemology, and even in the criticism of it. However, the claim that was occasionally voiced, namely that the Tiibingen discussion confined itself to preliminaries and consequently was of no use to sociology as a distinctive discipline, misses the point.

Arguments whicll commit themselves to the analytical theory of science without idquiring into its axioms- and 'preliminaries' can only imply this--A;ecome caught up in the infernal machine of logic. The critique of its constraining character is included in an immanent critique of an unleashed logic. Thought assumes this constraining character through unthinking identification with formal logical processes. Immanent critique has its limitation in the fetishized principle of immanent logic: this principle must be called by its proper name.

Moreover, the material relevance of the supposedly preliminary discussions is by no means excluded in sociology. For instance, whether one can talk of ideology depends directly upon whether one can distinguish between illusion and essence, and is thus a central piece of sociological doctrine extending into all ramifications of the stibject.

This material relevance of what sounds like epistemological or logical preliminaries is explained by the fact that the relevant contro- versies are, for their part, of a latently material nature. Either, knowledge of society is interwoven with the latter, and society enters the science of society in a concrete form, or society is ' Cf.

But behind the censured abstractness of the discussion lie far more serious difficulties. For the discussion to be possible it must proceed according to formal logic. But the thesis concerning the priority of the latter is, in turn, the core of the positivistic or- to replace the perhaps all too loaded term with one which might be acceptable to Popper-scientistic view of any science, sociology and the theory of science included.

Amongst the topics in the controversy which must be considered is the question whether ,the inescapable logicality of the procedure actually gives absolute primacy to logic. But thoughts which demand the critical self- reflection of the primacy of logic in concrete disciplines inevitably end in a tactical disadvantage.

They must reflect upon logic with the aid of means which, in turn, are largely logical- a contradic- tion Of the type that Wittgenstein, as the most reflective positivist, realized all too clearly. If the present ineyitable debate became one of ' Weltanschauungen' and were conducted from externally opposed standpoints, then it would a priori be unfruitful. But if it enters into argumentation then there is the danger that if the rules one position were to be tacitly recognized then this would inevitably supply the object of the discussion. Dahrendorf answered my remark that it was not a matter of difference in standpoint but rather of determinable differences, with the question 'whether the first statement was correct but the latter false'.

It can only be answered after the attempt has been made to produce such a decision and not before. This attempt should be made since the amiable tolerance towards two different coexisting types of sociology would amount to nothing more than the neutralization of the emphatic claim to truth.

The task itself is paradoxical. The controversial questions must. Habermas implies this effort, -and not crafty eristic arts, with the formulations 'flanking strategy' or 'behind'positivism's back'. A 1 Dahreodorf, p. ADORNO theoretical position ought to be found from which one can res- pond to the other person without, however, accepting a set of rules which are themselves a theme of the controversy-an intellectual no man's land. But this position cannot be. It is made concrete since even science, including formal logic, is not only a.

One may doubt whether this is acceptable to the positivists. It ' critically affects the basic thesis of the absolute independence of science and its constitutive character for all knowledge. One ought to ask whether a valid disjunction exists between know- ledge and the real life-process, or whether it is not rather the case that knowledge is mediated through the latter; or whether its own autonomy, through which it has made itself productively independent of its genesis and objectivated itself, can he derived, in turn, from its s.

But such a dual nature, no matter how plausible, would with the principle of non-contradiction. Science would then' be both independent and dependent. A dialectics which advocated this could, in so doing, no more act as if it were 'privileged tqpught' than it could elsewhere.

It cannot set itself up as a specific subjec- tive capacity, with which one person is gifted but which is denied to others. Nor can it present itself as intuitionism. Conversely, the positivists must make sacrifices. They must relinquish the attitude which Habermas calls the 'systematic pretence of failure to understand', and not unhesitatingly disqualify out of hand as unintelligible anything that fails to coincide with their 'criteria of meaning'. In view of their increasing animosity towards philosophy, one suspects that certain sociologists are taking great pains to shake off their own past.

But the past usually takes its revenge. At first sight the controversy seems to be that the positivists' position represents a strict concept of objective scientific validity which is weakened by philosophy,. However, everyday linguistic usage converts the concept of the speculative into its opposite.

But rather it is imperceptibly interpreted in a popular manner. Here, he who speculates is viewed as an unrestricted wild thinker who in his vanity dispenses with logical self-criticism and any confrontation with the facts. Since the collapse of the Hegelian system, and perhaps as a of it, the idea of speculation has become so inverted that it resembles the Faustian cliche of the beast on the barren heath. What was once intended to signify the thought that renounces its own narrowness and in so doing gains objec- tivity, is now equated with subjective caprice.

It is caprice since speculation lacks generally valid restraints; it is subjectivism since the concept of the fact of speculation is dissolved through em- phasis upon mediation, through the 'concept' which appears as a relapse into scholastic realism and according to positivistic ritual, as that product of the thinker which boldly confuses itself with an entity in itself. On the other hand, stronger than the tu quoque argument which Albert regards with suspicion, is the thesis that the positivist position, where pathos and influence are inherent in its claim to objectivity, is in turn, subjectivist.

This was anticipated by Hegel's critique of what he termed the philosophy of reflection. His method of logical analysis is the prototype of the quasi-ontological predisposition towards subjective reason.

Those who regard themselves as victors over idealism far closer to it than critical theory. They hypostatize the knowing subject, not as an absolute subject or a source, but as the topos noetikos of all validity-of scientific control. Whilst they wish to liquidate philosophy, they advocate a philosophy which, resting on the authority of science, seeks to immunize itself against itself.

In Carnap's work, the final link in the Hume- Mach-Schlick chain, the connection with the older subjective positivism is still revealed through his sensualist interpretation of protocol statements. Since these scientific statements are 1 '! ADORNO simply given in language and are not immediately given as sense certainty, this sensualist interpretation gave rise to Wittgenstein's problematic.

But the latent subjectivism is in no way penetrated by the language theory of the Tractatus. There, one reads: 'Philosophy does not result in ccphilosophical propositions", but rather in the clarification of propositions. Without philosophy thoughts are, as it were, cloudy and indistinct: its task is to make them clear and to give them sharp boundaries. In a scientific spirit, Wittgenstein exaggerates the claim of objectivity to such an extent that it dissolves and yields to the total paradox of philo- sophy, which forms Wittgenstein's nimbus.

Latent subjectivism has formed a counterpoint to the objectivism of the entire nominalist Enlightenment, the permanent reductio ad hominem. Thought need not adapt to it. It has the power to reveal critically the latent subjectivism. Even for Hume the doctrine of the absolute validity of mathematics was heterogenously contrasted with sceptical sensualism.

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Here the relative failure of scientism to achieve a mediation between facticity and concept becomes evident. If the two are not united then they become logically incompatible. One can neither advocate the absolute priority of the individual entitY over 'ideas', nor can one maintain the absolute independence of the purely ideal, namely the mathematical, realm. No matter how one interprets it, as long as Berkeley's esse est percipi is retained, it is difficult to see where the claim to validity of the formal disciplines is derived from, for this claim is not founded in anything sensuous.

Conversely, all the connecting mental operations of empiricism, for which the connectedness of statements is a criterion of truth, postulate formal logic. This simple consideration ought to be sufficient to induce scientism to take up dialectics. The unsatisfac- tory abstract polarity of the formal and the empirical is extended, in a highly tangible manner, to the social sciences. Formal sociology is the external complement to what Habermas has. Yet the mental acts are false which detach these from the empirical, hypostatize them and then subsequently fill them out through illustration.

The favourite discoveries of formal sociology, such as the bureaucratization of proletarian parties, have their ]da- mentum in re, but they do not invariably arise from the higher concept 'organization in general' but rather from societal condi- tions, such as the of asserting oneself within an over- whelming system whose power is realized through the diffusion of its own organizational forms over the whole.

This constraint infects the opponents of the system and not merely through social contamination but also in a quasi-rational manner-so that the organization is able, at any time, to represent effectively the interests of its members. Within a reified society, nothing has a chance to survive which is not in turn reified. The concrete historical generality of monopolistic capitalism extends into the monopoly of labour, with all its implications. A relevant task for empirical sociology would be to analyse the intermediate mem- bers and to show in detail how the adaptation to the changed capitalist relations of production includes those whose objective interests conflict, in the long run, with this adaptation.

In the work of one of economics' major representatives, Vilfredo Pareto, contemporary sociological positivism has one of its roots. Firstly, as Habermas expresses it, such a sociology operates with catalogues of hypotheses. Whilst undoubtedly, in this operation, it is the material which prevails, depending upon the section into which it must be incorporated, what is more decisive is whether the material-the phenomena- is interpreted in accordance with its own predetermined structure, and not simply established by science in a classificatory manner.

According to the latter inter- pretation, status and prestige are subject to the dynamics of class relations and, in principle, they can be conceptu11lized as capable of abolition. A distinction which apparently con- cerns only methodology therefore has vital concrete consequences. The subjectivism of positivistic sociology accords with this in its second meaning.

In quite a considerable area of its activity at least, it takes as its starting point opioions, modes of behaviour and the self-understanding of individual subjects and of society. In such a conception, society is largely what must be investigated statistically: the average consciousness or unconsciousness of and socially acting subjects, and not the medium in which they move.

The objectivity of the structure which, for the positivists, is a mythological relic is, according to dialectical theory, the a priori of cognitive-subjective reason. If subjective -. The condition and the content of the social facts to be derived from individual subjects are provided by this structure. The positivists prejudice' the ' outcome of the debate in so far as they insinuate that they represent a new advanced type of-thought whose views, as Albert puts it, have as yet not prevailed everywhere, but compared with which dialectics has become archaic.

This view of progress disregards the price paid which sabotages it. The mind is to advance by fettering itself as mind for the benefit of the facts-truly a logical contradiction. Its claim to modernity can only be that of advanced Enlightenment. But this claim requires the critical self-reflection of subjective reason. The advance of the latter, which is per- meated to its innermost core with the dialectics of Enlightenment, cannot, without difficulty, be assumed' to be a higher objectivity. This is the focal point of the controversy.

It does not accede to the criterion of the definition but instead it criticizes it. What is more serious is that, after the irrevocable collapse of the Hegelian system, dialectics has for- feited the former, profoundly questionable, consciousness of philosophical certainty. In its idealist version, dialectics ventured, through numerous media- dons and, in fact, by virtue of Being's own non-identity with Spirit, to present Being as perfectly identical with the latter.

This was unsuccessful and consequently, in its present form, dialectics adopts a position towards the 'myth of total reason' no less polemical than Albert's scientism. Dialectics is unable to take its claim to truth as guaranteed, as it did in its idealist phase. For Hegel the dialectical movement was able, with difficulty, to consider itself to be a comprehensive explanatory principle- to be 'science'.

For, in its first steps and positings, the of identity was always present, a thesis which in the development of the analyses was neither corroborated nor explicated. Hegel ' described it with the metaphor of the circle. Such closedness, which necessarily implied that nothing remained unrecognized or fortuitous outside dialectics, has been exploded, along with its constraint and unambiguity. Dialectics does not possess a canon-of thought which might regulate it.

Nevertheless, it still has its raison d'etre. In terms of society, the idea of an objective system-in-itself is not as illusory as it seemed to be after the collapse of idealism, and as positivism asserts. The notion of the great tradition of philosophy, which positivism considers to be outdated, 10 is not indebted to the allegedly aesthetic qualities of intellectual achievements but rather to a content of experience which, because of its transcendence into individual consciousness, would tempt me to hypostatize it as being absolute.

Dialectics is able to legitimize itself by translating thi content back into the experience from which it arose. But this is the experience of the mediation of all that is individual through the objective societal 10 a. Hclmut F. Spinner, 'Wo warst du, Platon. Bin kleiner Protest gegen eine "grosse Philosophic",' Welt, vol. In traditional dialectics, it was turned on its head with the thesis that antecedent objectivity- the object itself, understood as totality- was the subject.

Albert objects that in my Tiibingen paper there are merely hints at totality. In such a totality, everyone is also dependent on everyone else. The whole survives only through the unity of the functions which its members fulfil. Each individual without exception must take some function on himself in order to prolong his existence; indeed, while his function lasts, he is taught to express his gratitude for it.

The fascination exerted by Merton's 'theory of the middle range' c. According to the simplest common sense, the empirical strives towards totality. If one studies social conflict in a case such as the hostile reactions in Berlin towards students in , then the occasion of the individual situation is not sufficient for an explanation.

A thesis such as the following: that the population simply reacted in a spontaneous manner towards a group which it considered to be endangering the interests of a city maintained under precarious conditions- would be inadequate, and not only because of the doubtfulness of the political and ideological connections assumed. Such a thesis in no way makes plausible the rage against a specific visible minority, easily identifiable according to popular prejudice, which immediately exploded into physical violence.

The most widespread and effective stereotypes in vogue against the students 11 Cf. Albcrt, Joc. Adomo, 'Gesellschaft', in Evangelirtbt Slttaltkxikon Stuttgart, column 63j. English trans. Jameson, 'Society' in Salmagundi, no. Io-n, ! The similarity between such slogans and those of the jingoistic press is obvious. But this press would scarcely be influential if it did not act upon dispositions of opinion and instinctive reactions of numerous individuals and both confirm and strengthen them.

Anti-intellectualism and the readiness to project discontent with questionable conditions onto those who express the questionableness, make up the reactions to immediate causes which serve as a pretence or as a rationalization. If it were the case that even the situation in Berlin was a factor which helped to release the mass psychological potential, then it could not be understood other than within the wider context of international politics.

It is a narrow line of thought which deduces from the so-called Berlin situation what arises from powei: struggles actualized in the Berlin conflict. When length- ened, the lines lead to the social network. Owing to the infinite plurality of its moments, it can, of course, scarcely be encapsulated by scientific prescriptions. But if it is eliminated from science then the phenomena are attributed to false causes, and the dominant idoology regularly profits from this. That society does not allow itself to be nailed down as a fact actually only testifies to the existence of mediation.

This implies that the facts are neither final nor impenetrable, even though the prevailing sociology regards them as such in accordance with the model of sense data found in earlier epistemology. In them there appears that which they are not. For its part, it is a societallaw that decisive structures of the social process, such as that of the inequality of the alleged equivalency of exchange, cannot become apparent without the intervention of theory.

Dialectical thought counters the of what Nietzsche termed rtether-worldly [hintmJJeltlerisch] with the assertion that concealed essence is non-essence. Dialectical thought, irreconcil- able with the philosophical tradition, affirms non-essence, not u a. Max Horkbeimer, loc. ADORNO because of its power but instead it criticizes its contradiction of 'what is appearing' [Erscheinendes] and, ultimately, its contradiction of the real life of human beings. Orte must adhere to Hegel's statement that essence must appear. Totality is not an affirmative but rather a critical category.

Dialectical critique seeks to salvage or help to establish what does not obey totality,. The interpretation of facts is directed towards totality, without the interpretation itself being a fact. There is nothing socially factual which would not have its place in that totality. It is pre-established for all individual subjects since they obey its 'contrainte' even in themselves and even in their monado- logical constitution and here in particular, conceptualize totality. To this extent, totality is what is most real.

Since it is the sum of individuals' social relations which screen themselves off from individuals, it is also illusion,-ideology. A liberated mankind would by no means be a totality. Their being-in-themseles is just as much their subjugation as it deceives them about as the true societal substratum. This certainly does not fulJ the desideratum of a logical analysis of the concept of totality, 14 as the analysis of something free from contradiction, which Albert uses against Habermas, for the analysis terminates in the objective contradiction of totality.

But the analysis should protect recourse to totality from the accusation of. Nevertheless, it is not separate from the facts but is immanent to them as their mediation. Formulated provocatively, totality Is society as a thing-in-itself, with all the guilt of reification. But it is precisely because this thing-in-itself is not yet the total societal subject-nor is it yet freedom, but rather extends nature in a heteronomous manner- that an indissoluble moment is objective to it such as Durkheim, though somewhat onesidedly, declared to be the essence of the social as such.

To this it is also 'factual'. The concept of facticity, which the positivistic view guards as its final substratum, is a function of the same society about which scientistic sociology, insistent upon this opaque. The quotation stems from a context in which Adorno, with reference to Hegel, asserts that refutation is only fruitful as immanent critique; see Adomo, "On the Logic of the Social Sciences", pp. Here the meaning of Popper's comments on the problem of the critical test is roughly :reversed through "further reflection".

It seems to me that the untestability of Adorno's assertion is basically linked with the fact that neither the concept of totality used, nor the nature of the dependence asserted, is clarified to any degree. Presumably, there is nothing more behind it than the idea that somehow everything is linked with everything else. To what extent any view could gain a methodical advantage from such an idea would :really have to be demonstrated. In this matter, verbal exhortations of totality ought not to suffice.

To the objection that behind the concept of totality there lies nothing more than the triviality that everything is linked with everything else, one should reply that the bad abstraction of that statement 'is not so much the sign of feeble thinking as it is that of a shabby permanency in the constitution of society itself: that of exchange. The first, objective abstraction takes place; not so much in the scientific account of it, as in the universal development of the exchange system itself, which happens independently of the qualitative attitudes of producer and consumer, of the mode of production, even of need, which the social mechanism tends to satisfy as a kind of secondary by-product.

A humanity classified as a network of consumers, the human beings who actually have the needs, has been socially preformed beyond anything which one might naively imagine, and this not only by the technical 11 loc. ADORNO level of productive forces but just as much by the economic relationships themselves in which they function. The abstraction of exchange value is a priori allied with the domination of the general over the particular, of society over its captive member- ship.

It is not at all a socially neutral phenomenon as t:lie logistics of reduction, of uniformity of work time pretend. The domination of men over men is realized through the reduction of fuen to agents and bearers of commodity exchange.

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The concrete form of the total system requires everyone to respect the law of exchange if he does not wish to be destroyed, irrespective of whether profit is his subjective motivation or not. In so doing, they do not recognize the highest strtidtural concepts as the precondition for the states of affairs sub1:ed under them. If positivism denigrates this concept of tota ty as mythological, pre-scientific residue then it mythologizes science in its assiduous struggle against mythology.

Its instrumental character, or rather its orientation towards the primacy of available methods instead of towards reality and its intereiit, inhibits insights which affect both scientific procedure and its object. The core of the critique of positivism is that it shuts itself off from both the experience of the blindly dominating totality and the driving desire that it should ultimately become something else.

It contents itself with the senseless ruins which remain after the liquidation of idealism, without interpreting, for their part, both liquidation and what is liquidated, and rendering them true.

07 Sociology & Science 01 (Positivism and Popper)

Instead, positivism is concerned with the disparate, with the subjectivistically interpreted datum and the associated pure thought forms of the human subject. Contemporary scientism unites these now fragmented moments of knowledge in a manner as external as that of the earlier philosophy of reflection which, for this reason, deserved to be criticized by speculative Dialectics also contains the opposite of idealistic hubris.

It abolishes the illusion of a somehow natural-transcendental dignity 11 Adomo, 'Gesellschaft', loc. Jameson, loc.

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Original slighdy revised. To this extent, dialectics. Freyer has drawn attention to this. The commensur- 3. This too is dillicult to combine with discursive logic. Society is both intelligible and unintelligible.

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It is intelligible in so. In it the human subject truly recognizes himself. I n terms of the philosophy of science, this explains why Weberian sociology concentrates upon the concept of rationality. In rationality, regardless of whether consciously or unconsciously, Weber sought what was identical in subject and object, namely that which would permit something akin to knowledge of the object [Sache], instead of its splintering into data and its processing.

Yet the objective rationality of society, namely that of exchange, continues to distance itself through its dynamics, from the mddel of logical reason. Con- sequently, society-what has been made independent- is, in turn, no longer intelligible; only the law of becoming independent is intelligible. Unintelligibility does not simply signify something essential in its structure but also the ideology by means of which it arms itself against the critique of its irrationality.

Since ality or spirit has separated itself as a partial moment from the living human subjects and has contended! The aspect of objectivity as unchangeability, which it thus assumes, is then mirrored in the reification o the knowing consciousness. If Popper seeks the essence of criticism in the fact that progressive knf:? Consciousness which does not blind itself to the antagonistic nature of society, nor to society's immanent contradiction of rationality and irrationality, must proceed to the critique of society without llio without means other than rational ones.

In his essay on the analytical theory of science, Habermas has justified the necessity of the transition to dialectics with particular reference to social scientific knowledge. In the latter, with increasing knowledge becomes to an increasing extent a force ff pro- 'duction. Dialectics would like to confront scientism in the latter's own sphere in so far as it strives for a more correct recognition of contemporary societal reality. It seeks to help to penetrate the curtain hanging before reality- a curtain which science helps to weave.

The Positivist dispute in German sociology

The harmonistic tendency of science, which makes the antagonisms of reality disappear through its methodical processing, lies in the classificatory method which is devoid of the intention of those who utilize it. It reduces to the same concept what is not fundamentally homonymous, whatismutuallyopposed, through the selection of the conceptual apparatus, and in the ser- vice of its unanimity. In recent years, an example of this tendency has been provided by Talcott Parsons' well-known attempt to create a unified science of man. His system of categories sub- sumes individual and society, psychology and sociology alike, or at least places them in a continuum.

A postscript to the Controversy between Popper and Adomo', p. Adoroo, 'Zum Verhl! In society this ideal conceals the rift between the general and the particular, in which the continuing antagonism expresses itself. The unity of science represses the contradictory nature of its object. A price has to be paid for the apparently contagious satisfaction that nonethdess can be derived from the unified science: such a science cannot grasp the societally posited moment of the divergence individual and society and of their respective disciplines.

The pedantically organized total scheme, which stretches from the individual and his invariant regularities to complex. Their relationship is contradictory since society largely denies individuals what it- always a society of individuals- promises them and why society coalesces at all; whilst on the other hand, the blind, unrestrained interests of individuals inhibit the formation of a possible total societal interest.

The ideal of a unified science merits an epithet, but one which it would by no means please it, namely, that of the aesthetic- just as one speaks of 'elegance' in mathematics. The organizatory rationalization in which the programme of unified science results, as opposed to the disparate individual sciences, greatly questions in the philosophy of science which are thrown up by society.

If, in Wellmer's words, 'meaningful becomes a synonym for scientific', then science, socially mediated, guided and controlled, paying existing society and its tradition a calculable tribute, usurps the role of the arbiter veri et falsi. For Kant, the epistemological constitutive question was that of the possibility of science. Now, in simple tautology, the question is referred back to science.

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Insights and modes of procedure which, instead of remaining within valid science affect it critically, banished a limine. Thus it is that the apparently neutral concept of 'conventionalist bond' has fatal implications. Through the back door of conventionalism social conformism is smuggled ip. The effort of analysing in detail the entanglement of conformism and "the self-.

The Positivist Dispute In German Sociology by Theodor W. Adorno

More than thirty years ago, Horkheimer drew attention to the whole complex in 'The Latest Attack upon Metaphysics'. But such a concept contains its own historical dialectic. When Fichte's Theory of Science and Hegel's Science of Logic were written at the turn of the eighteenth century, the present concept of science with its claim to exclusiveness would have been critically placed on the level of the pre-scientific, whilst nowadays what was then termed science, no matter how chimerically it was called absolute knowledge, would be rejected as extra-scientific by what Popper refers to as scientism.

The course--of history, and not merely of intellectual history; which led to this is by no means unqualified progress, as the positivists would have it. All the mathematical refinement of the highly developed scientific methodology does not allay the suspicion that the elaboration of science into a technique alongside others has undermined its own concept. The strongest argument for this would be that what appears as a goal to scientific interpretation, namely fact-finding, is only a means towards theory for emphatic science. However, the reformulation of the I dea of science begins even with the idealists, in particular witH Hegel, whose absolute knowledge coincides with the manifest 'concept of what exists thus-and not otherwise [so d nicht tl!

Seiendes ]. The point of attack for the critique of this development is not the crystallization of particular scientific methods the fruit- fulness of which is beyond question but rather the now dominant suggestion, crudely urged on the authority of Max Weber, that extra-scientific interests are external to science and that the two should be strictly separated. Whilst, on the one hand, the allegedly purely scientific interests are rigid channels and are frequently neutralizations of extra-scientific interests which, in their weakened form, extend into science; the scientific body of instruments, on the other hand, which provides the canon of what is scientific, is also instrumental in a manner in which instrumental reason has never dreamt.

This body of instruments is the means for answering questions which both originate beyond science and strive beyond it. In so far as the ends-means rationality of science ignores the Tclos which lies in the concept of instrumentalism and becomes its own sole purpose, it contradicts its own instrumentality. But this is what society demands of science. In a determinably false society that contradicts the interests both of its members and of the whole, all knowledge INl'RODUCl'ION which readily subordinates itself to the rules of this society that are congealed in science, participates in its falsehood.

The current academically attractive distinction between the scientific and the pre-scientific, to which even Albert adheres, cannot be upheld. The revision of this dichotomy is legitimated by a fact which can constantly be observed and is even confirmed by positivists, namely, that there is a split in their thinking in that, regardless of whether they speak as scientists or non-scientists, they nevertheless utilize reason.

What is classified as pre-scientific is not simply what has not yet passed through, or avoided, the self-critical work of science advocated by Popper. But rather it subsumes all the rationality and experience which are excluded from the instrumental determinations of reason. Both moments are necessarily dependent upon one another. Science, which incorporates the pre-scientific impulses without transforming them, condemns itself to indifference no less than do amateur arbitrary procedures.

In the disreputable realm of the pre- scientific, those interests meet which are severed by the process of scientization. But these interests are by no means inessential. Just as there certainly would be no advance of consciousness without the scientific discipline, it is equally certain that the discipline also paralyses the organs of knowledge.

The more science is rigified in the shell whicl!

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Max Weber prophesied for the world, the more what is ostracized as pre-scientific becomes the refuge of knowledge. The contradiction in the. Science postulates a coherent immanent connection and is a moment of the society which denies it coherence. If it escapes this antinomy, be it by cancelling its truth content through a sociology of know- ledge relativization, or by failing to recognize its entanglement in the faits sociaux, and sets itself up as something absolute and self- sufficient, then it contents itself with illusions which impair science in what it might achieve.

Both moments are certainly disparate but not indifferent to one another. Only insight into science's inherent societal mediations contributes to the objectivity of science, since it is no mere vehicle. Its absolutization and. Scientism becomes false with regard to central states of affairs by engaging itself one-sidedly in favour of the unified moment of incUvidual and society for the sake of logical systematics, and by devaluing 20 THEODOR W. ADORNO as an epiphenomenon the antagonistic moment which cannot be incorporated into such logical systematics.

According to dialectical logic, the constitutum cannot be the constituens and the conditioned cannot be the condition for its own condition. Reflection upon the value of societal knowledge within the framework of what it knows forces reflection beyond this simple lack of contradiction. The inescapability of paradox, which Wittgenstein frankly expressed, testifies to the fact that generally the lack of contradiction cannot, for consistent thought, have the last word, not even when consistent thought sanctions its norm. Wittgenstein's superiority over the positivists of the Vienna Circle is revealed in a striking manner here: the logician perceives the limit of logic.

Within its framework, the relationship between language and world, as Wittgenstein presented it, could not be treated unambiguously: For him language forms a closed im- manent context through which the non-verbal moments ofknow- ledge, for instance sense data, are mediated. But it is p9t the intention of language to refer to what is non-verbal.

In accord with the scieotistic afsurnp- tion of rules only being valid within it, it is as a moment :within reality, a fait social. At this point, he had reached the threshold of a dia- lectical awareness of the so-called problems of constitution and had reduced ad absurdum scientism's right to cut off dialectical thought.

This affects both the current scientistic notion of the subject, even of the transcendental subject of knowledge, which u The dual nature of language is revealed in that it-and to this extent it is allied with the positivists- gains objectivity solely through subjective intention. The objectivity of language is recognized and strengthened only by the person who expresses what he intends subjectively as precisely as possible, whilst every attempt to rely upon language's being-in-itself, or upon its ontological essence, ends in the bad subjectivism of the hypostasis of verbal figures.

This was perceived by Benjamin. In positivism itself, with the exception of Wittgenstein, this positivistic motif is not accorded its proper due. The stylistic negligence of many adherents to scientism, which may become rationalized with the taboo on the moment of expression in language, betrays reified consciousness. Since science is dogmatically made into an objectivity which cannot be mediated through the subject, linguistic expression is trivialized. Anyone who posits states of affairs as existent in themselves without subjective mediation will be indifferent towards dle formalization at the cost of dolizing reality.

It is no longer an X whose substratum must be composed from the context of subjective determinations but rather, being itself determined, it helps to determine the subjective function. The validity of knowledge, and not only of natural lawd, is certainly largely independent of its origin. In Tubingen the two symposiasts were united in their critique of the sociology of knowledge and ofPareto's sociologism. Marx's theory opposes it. Frankfurt School "critical theory," by contrast, denies that sociology can be severed from its "metaphysical" heritage; empirical questions are necessarily rooted in substantive philosophical issues.

Drawing on concepts from Hegelian and Marxian traditions, critical theory conceives of society as a concrete totality, a social environment in which various "psycho-social agencies" family, authorities, peers, mass media shape individual consciousness. According to the Frankfurt school, it is important to discover the society's fabrics to allow for individuals to overcome being cornered.

Critical rationalism considers this goal to be impossible and any attempts changing society out of possibly non-scientific deductions to be dangerous. The Frankfurt school counters critical rationalism as being itself cornered, disallowing itself from asking scientific questions when just some methods are not available. Looking back in history "It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but their social existence that determines their consciousness" Karl Marx. The social existence determines the mindset of scientists as well.

All the hypotheses generated by scientists which would need to be falsified are limited to this society's thinkable. While critical rationalism provides methods that are supposed to have an influence on society it is this totality that makes the reforms advocated by Popper ineffective for noticeable changes. Popper, in contrast, held that the Frankfurt school view was historicist ideology failing to see that any attempt to cause a total change of society i. According to Popper, individuals, including scientists, are free to decide, and are perhaps restricted by their social existence, but not totally determined by it.

Changes may then look ineffective and very slow, but will accumulate over time. Popper thinks it is the lesser evil compared to violent revolutions, since such reforms can be undone if they turn out to only make things worse, while revolutions usually lead to lengthy periods of tyranny.

Thus, for Popper, the method of reforms should be preferred. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Antihumanism Empiricism Rationalism Scientism. Non-Euclidean geometry s Uncertainty principle Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. Learn more. This paper examines the claim that positivism and humanism are mutually exclusive alternatives to the study and amelioration of human society.

In the third part of the paper a distinction is between those claims which were definitive of positivism and those which were either peripheral or later amended by the leading positivists. It is then argued that a number of the criticisms leveled against positivism such as the latter's supposed affirmation of strict determinism, of scientism, and that normative considerations, being nondescriptive in character, are of little consequence, are entirely unfounded criticisms.

Such claims were never an explicit part of the positivist program. Volume 52 , Issue 3. The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Sociological Inquiry Volume 52, Issue 3.