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Type of publication: Straipsnis / Article
Author(s): Norkus, Zenonas
Title: Maxo Weberio „idealieji tipai“ ir šiuolaikinė istorijos ir socialinių mokslų filosofija
Other Title: The ideal types of Max Weber and contemporary philosophy of history and social sciences
Is part of: Istorija, 1999, t. 42, p. 42-48
Date: 1999
Abstract: The article consists of three parts, the first one containing the exposition of Weber's pronouncements on ideal types and explaining their relations with the Methodenstreit in the German economic science of Weber's time. Weber conceived his theory of ideal types as the supplement to Heinrich Rickert's Neokantian theory of the concept formation accounting for theoretic knowledge in "cultural sciences". Such knowledge had no clear systematic place in Rickert's theory who identified "cultural science" with the "method" of the individualizing concept formation. The price paid by Weber for reliance on Rickert was the conflation of the logical problems of the concept formation sensu strictu with that of methodological problems concerning the rules for the use of theories and models in history and social sciences. So Weber's ideal types can be reconstructed retrospectively in two ways: from the perspective of the modern logic and from that of philosophy of science conceived as the explication of the rules of scientific method. The second part contains the interpretation of Weber's ideal types from the first perspective identifying them with the "extreme" types built via the reduction of the multidimensional property spaces which consist of the properties measurable on the level of the ordinal scale at least. The final third part interprets Weber's ideal typical method as universalization of some features of the method of neoclassical economics, which is considered in the article as the "archetype" for Weber's ideas on ideal type. Neoclassical economics makes liberal use of the ceteris paribus clause as the immunizing device for the protection of its theoretical models. Weber recommends the models with ceteris paribus clause to the historians as the instrument of the identification of the "aberrations" or "deviations" in the observed courses of events from the theoretically predicted ones. The "deviations" thus identified are problems for historical explanation. In Weber's view these problems must be solved not via the modification of the theoretical models themselves, but via the non- systematic (historic) causal judgments. Weber's concept of the ideal-typifying method is criticized on three points: 1) Weber makes no distinction between the mere typological concepts and models, which explicitly specify the relations between the variables. 2) Neoclassical models are unique being based on the theory of rational action which gives them some theoretical validation compensating for their deficit of the pure empirical validity (cf. "principle of charity" as described by Donald Davidson). This does not apply, however, to the other conceptual constructions which Weber considers as "ideal types" too. 3) The underdetermination of the concepts and theories by the empirical evidence applies both to the natural and social sciences. Kuhn'svision of the theoretical change (and that of the "strong program in the sociology of science") implies that contrary to Weber's assumptions the dependence on values subject to the change themselves is not the feature unique to the cultural sciences as Weber maintained.
Appears in Collections:Istorija 1999, t. 42

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