Why didn't Leo Strauss like Karl Popper?

Max Weber's thesis and postulate of 'freedom from value judgments' in the 'positivism controversy of German sociology'

Table of contents

Table of contents


The freedom of value judgment at Max Weber

Reactions to Weber's thesis

Eduard Spranger: The possibility of scientific value judgments

Leo Strauss: The dishonesty of the freedom of value judgment

Poppers "Problem of Value Freedom"

Adorno's "misunderstanding"

Habermas´ "dualism of facts and decisions"




Max Weber presented the Freedom of judgment thesis on, i.e. the thesis that scientific value judgments are impossible, and he demanded in his Freedom of value judgment postulateto present (scientific) factual assertions and (unscientific) value judgments separately from one another.[1] Based on Weber's position, a value judgment discussion arose, which is summarized in the book in the contributions of Theodor W. Adorno, Karl R. Popper, Jürgen Habermas, Hans Albert and Harald Pilot The Positivism Controversy in German Sociology[2], found a new edition.

The positivism dispute is not called that because the advocates of critical theory (Adorno, Habermas) quarreled with positivists. Popper himself explicitly described himself as an opponent of positivism and even boasted that he “brought down” positivism.[3] A similar attitude can be seen in Albert. The two were called "positivists" because Habermas (and subsequently also Adorno) had named the representatives of critical rationalism, Popper and Albert, positivists in his contributions.[4] The assignment of Popper to positivism is therefore wrong, but understandable against the background of the philosophical alternatives that were available in the West German post-war period. Popper's critical rationalism at this time was much more similar to logical positivism than e.g.

Othmar Spann's philosophy in Vienna in the twenties or thirties, or phenomenology (especially in Heidegger's version) or the philosophy of life in Germany at that time. Against the background of these options that dominated the West German philosophical landscape in the post-war period, it is understandable that even later followers of Popper in the 1950s initially moved him very close to positivism.[5]

In this work, however, it should not be about positivism criticism, be it from Adornos and Habermas' side, or from their opponents Popper and Albert. This work is limited to the investigation of the question of how the freedom of value judgment thesis, as well as the requirement to clearly distinguish factual assertions and value judgments, was accepted and criticized by the speakers, especially Adorno, Popper and Habermas.

After reproducing the position of Max Weber and subsequent reactions before the appearance of the Posivism dispute the views of Adorno, Poppers and Habermas are reproduced and examined for their plausibility.

The freedom of value judgment at Max Weber

Max Weber was the first to propose the thesis of value freedom. He advocated the thesis that it is impossible to make (technical) scientific value judgments,[6] for an empirical assumption would not be able to teach anyone what he should, but only what he can and, under certain circumstances, what he wants[7].

Therefore, in the postulate of freedom from value judgments, he called for factual assertions and value judgments to be clearly presented separately from each other. This was mainly to prevent subjective views from being disseminated under the guise of science.[8]

Weber initially pleaded explicitly For a catheter evaluation, i.e. for evaluative statements from lecturers at universities.[9] However, he always insisted on the requirement to consistently separate factual assertions and value judgments.

The value judgment discussion dealt mainly with the possibility more specialized Value judgments, but not with the possibility of practical knowledge at all. So the question was asked whether the practical philosophy us "’ validity of a practical imperative as norm ’"[10] could provide only marginally. But even if that were the case, for Weber, according to Herbert Keuth, the question of whether and why one should follow this norm would still not have been answered. According to Weber, correct action does not depend on practical and theoretical knowledge, but ultimately solely on individual choice. This choice between different options for action, all of which could be right, remains a matter of personal decision and

"Is certainly not a question of empirical, yes in my opinion at all none of whatever kind of science ”and, one may add, just as little that of a practical philosophy that is not understood as science.[11]

Weber's central requirement, which he calls the "minimum requirement"[12] understands, is the clear distinction between Allegations of fact and normative value judgments[13], since scientific value judgments are impossible. In the course of the work it will become clear that apparently not always Weber's Thesis was criticized when the “value judgment thesis”, “value freedom thesis” etc. was mentioned, because “it is often not taken 'too literally', and those who argue against it like to make use of 'that benevolent achievement, the ambiguity is. '"[14]

Reactions to Weber's thesis

Eduard Spranger: The possibility of scientific value judgments

One of the first opponents of Weber's theses was Eduard Spranger. Although he took no position on Weber's demand for a clear distinction between factual assertions and value judgments, he believed he could prove that (technical) scientific valuation was possible.[15] To this end, proposed a "’ middle path between positivism and platonism, description and goal setting ’"[16] in front. This consisted of making value judgments based on knowledge. On the basis of scientifically gained insight into facts, we should develop a clear awareness of what is truly valuable.[17] The basis of the scientific evaluation is that the scientist objectively agrees. He "must not orientate himself to his own interests, but only to those of other people or groups."[18] The scientist then has to make these persons or groups the bearers of the value judgments. As such, neither science itself nor mankind as such “because it includes everyone and therefore does not exclude anyone's point of view, but the struggle is part of the essence of valuation.” The researcher's ideal of mankind is “such that it can be used in the name of Nation and judge according to its destiny. That is why an economic value judgment is scientific when it is nationalistic. "[19]

Leo Strauss: The dishonesty of the freedom of value judgment

According to Leo Strauss, scientific values ​​are not only possible, the scientist even acts dishonestly if he does Not values.[20] Strauss tried to refute the thesis of freedom from value judgments with the help of natural law, as he feared nihilistic consequences if doubts arose that reason could distinguish between good and bad.[21]

Strauss makes two arguments for the need for scientific evaluation. The first is the description of actions observed in concentration camps. A researcher who gives an exclusively factual analysis should not speak of "cruelty". And

“Any not completely dull reader of such a description would take it for granted to noticethat the acts described are cruel. The author would be on purpose suppress better knowledge or, to use Weber's favorite expression, he would himself that intellectual dishonesty make guilty. "[22]

But according to Keuth, Weber firstly never issued a ban on using words like “cruelty”, and secondly the fact that everyone describes descriptions of actions in concentration camps as cruel feels, by no means that he was also about her cruelty know A matching rating is not proof of a right one Evaluation of actions.[23] In addition, it is not a sign of dishonesty if a researcher does not add practical knowledge to his theoretical knowledge, if it were available. Because he is not deceiving anyone, because he is not suppressing any information, but merely providing information and leaving it at that.[24]

Strauss also tried to refute the thesis of freedom from value judgments by assuming that certain phenomena are only constituted through value judgments. This thesis can be presented e.g. on the basis of the phenomenon of prostitution, which is only constituted by the value judgment "degrading". However, as Keuth shows, “prostitution” can also be defined neutrally as “sexual intercourse for a fee”, and everyone knows what it means.[25] In addition, Strauss would find it difficult to explain cases of prostitution that are not associated with humiliation, e.g. temple prostitution in pre-Christian cultures. In his opinion, is it no longer prostitution? Another problem arises from the “subject of prostitution as an assessed phenomenon “, Which would be found to be valued regardless of the opinion of any person - and as such there should be the phenomenon according to Strauss. But what does a value judgment mean that nobody has liked? In addition: how do the different evaluations of prostitution come about, if only it? a correct rating? The argument that not everyone can perceive “correctly” is not plausible, since then there is obviously no generally comprehensible procedure for it. If - and there - this does not seem to exist, there can be no other solution than to consider one's own assessment to be correct and everyone else to be incorrect, which does not seem very scientific, however.[26]

The criticism of the thesis of freedom from value judgments before the appearance of the Positivism dispute can therefore be summarized by two main points: Spranger grabbed the thesis Weber argues that scientific value judgments are impossible, and he tried to refute them by arguing that greater knowledge gives people greater insight into what is truly valuable. The researcher is thus able to evaluate scientifically. To do this, however, he must free himself from all subjectivity and act objectively in the sense of people or groups. A value judgment is scientific when it is nationalistic, since the researcher always acts in the interests of his nation.

Strauss, on the other hand, attacked Weber's postulate, i.e. the demand for the separation of factual assertions and value judgments, by calling value-free science dishonest, because it suppresses important information. In addition, certain social phenomena such as prostitution, corruption or statecraft are only constituted through value judgments, so that a term such as “prostitution” cannot be understood without the rating “degrading”.

Both critics, Spranger and Strauss, are to be credited with the fact that their criticism is actually based on Weber's Theses relates, i.e. both to the freedom of value judgment thesis and to the demand for a separation of factual assertions and value judgments.

Poppers "Problem of Value Freedom"

With Popper things are quite different: Popper deals with “the so-called problem of value freedom[27], however, he postpones the problem, suggesting that he is “the so-called problem of value freedom in a lot freer Solve wise "[28] would as a weaver.

However, Popper does not go directly to Weber's thesis that scientific value judgments are impossible and the resulting requirement to separate factual assertions and value judgments. With the formulation " so-called Objectivity of Science "[29], however, he already criticizes Weber's assumption (at least the one that Popper seems to see as Weber's thesis) that such an objectivity exists. And in fact, Popper also considers the thesis of freedom from value judgments to be "fundamentally wrong and based on a misunderstanding of the scientific method"[30], for him there is no value freedom in the sciences.

Instead, he posits the difference between scientific and extra-scientific values or. Interests:

What is possible and what is important and what gives science its special character is not the elimination, but the differentiation of those interests that do not belong to the search for truth from the purely scientific interest in truth. But although truth is the guiding scientific value, it is not the only one [...] In other words, there is purely scientific values ​​and unworthiness and except scientific values ​​and unworthiness. And although it is impossible to keep the work on science free from extra-scientific applications and evaluations, one of the tasks of scientific criticism and scientific discussion is to combat the confusion of value spheres, and in particular extra-scientific evaluations from the Questions of truth turn off.[31]


The purity of pure science is an ideal that is presumably unattainable, but for which criticism is constantly fighting and must constantly fighting. [...] We cannot rob the scientist of his partiality without also robbing him of his humanity. [...] The objective and neutral scientist is not the ideal scientist. It doesn't work without passion [...] So it is not only that objectivity and freedom from values ​​are practically unattainable for the individual scientist, but objectivity and freedom from values ​​are values ​​themselves. And since value freedom is itself a value, the demand for unconditional value freedom is paradoxical.[32]

Popper seems to have known Weber's thesis about freedom from value judgments and also the requirement to separate factual assertions and value judgments. And he pleads for the "purity of pure science" in the spirit of Weber. But his claim to have modified the "value freedom thesis" can only be based on a misunderstanding, because it seems unlikely that Popper really normative Value judgments (and only of those Weber talks about in his value judgment thesis) would have tolerated in science. Weber showed convincingly that the separate presentation of factual assertions and value judgments is very possible.[33] In addition, Weber himself expressly emphasized that there is no such thing as “value-free” science:

"There are no absolutely 'objective' scientific analysis [...] independently from special and 'one-sided' points of view, according to which they - expressly or tacitly, consciously or unconsciously - are selected, analyzed and presented as a research object. "[34]

Weber understands objectivity as follows:

lens is our knowledge [...] insofar as it is corresponds to reality. But it is not depicted, but ordered through thinking. To do this, the knowing subject makes use [...] of the categories.[35]

Therefore Popper's criticism comes to nothing, more precisely, he postulates theses that Weber would not have contradicted.

Popper's misunderstanding seems to be based on the fact that by “values” he understood not only normative value judgments in Weber's sense, but also “interests” in the broadest sense, the existence of which Weber did not deny in the sciences either. The emphasis on the is always important normative Value judgments that cannot be judged with “right” or “wrong”, but only with “good” or “bad”. Because Weber was not interested in eliminating Values or Interests in the broadest sense from science, but about the distinction between factual assertions and normative value judgments, because “even inner experience teaches at best which values ​​actually 'apply', but not which ones are 'correct' or 'valid' [...] . Value judgments cannot [...] be "objective".“[36]

Adorno's "misunderstanding"

For his part, Adorno now seemed to misunderstand Popper's arguments in favor of a rejection of the postulate of freedom from value judgments:[37]

Him [i.e. Popper] has not escaped the fact that this now dogmatized category [of value freedom], which communicates all too well with the pragmatic scientific community, has to be rethought.[38]

“Rethinking” for Adorno did not mean, as it did for Popper, to distinguish between scientific and extra-scientific value judgments, as Popper had clearly done, but to reject the postulate of value judgments (also Popper's distinction between scientific and extra-scientific values) entirely by quoting Popper who had described the (albeit “unconditional”!) value freedom as “paradox”.[39]

Adorno then put forward the thesis: "The entire value problem [...] is wrongly posed."[40] For for him "[it] only constitutes itself in a phase in which means and ends were torn apart for the sake of a smooth mastery of nature."[41] Hans-Joachim Dahms replied, however, that "the distinction between facts and values, between being and ought, is not a specific thought product of the late 19th century, but as old as practical philosophy itself"[42] is.

Adorno's rejection of the requirement to separate assertions of fact and value judgments (in the broadest sense) is understandable against the background of the critical theory he advocates. Since for him “society [...] is contradictory and yet determinable; rational and irrational in one, system and fragile, blind nature and mediated by consciousness "[43], in a word: "total" is not due to the "empirical asceticism of theory"[44] and thus not to be grasped with the "positivistic" hypothetical-deductive procedure, but only through the "postulate of insight into the essence of modern society."[45] He criticizes:

The formation of social theories based on the pattern of classificatory systems substitutes the thinnest conceptual abbreviation for that which society dictates its law: empiricism and theory cannot be entered into a continuum.[46]

And so even a value-free knowledge according to the critical theory cannot be possible, because either knowledge of society is intertwined with it, and society specifically enters into the science of it, or this is only a product of subjective reason, beyond all inquiries about its own objective mediation.[47]

Habermas´ "dualism of facts and decisions"

Like Adorno, Habermas also rejects the postulate of freedom from values. However, he argues differently. It is true that he, too, wants to prove "that empirical sciences are fundamentally dependent on evaluations."[48] And he cites "the reason for his entry into the discussion that 'Adorno's position should be defended against objections of critical rationalism.'"[49] However, according to Dahms, he was less concerned with supporting Adorno than with “the presentation of preliminary stages of his theory of 'knowledge-guiding interests' conceived during the period of the positivism dispute and their defense against the critical rationalism of Popper and Albert . "[50]

This also has an impact on the discussion of value judgments, since Habermas sees the connection between knowledge and interests differently than Adorno. Habermas' theory of knowledge-guiding interests can be roughly summed up by the fact that he expanded the dualism of natural sciences and humanities to a trichotomy of three different types of interests, the scientific interests, the humanities-scientific interests and the emancipatory knowledge interests.[51]

Habermas' theory and its arguments cannot be seen as supporting Adorno's (and Horkheimer's) critical theory, because the theory of knowledge-guiding interests differs from critical theory in several essential points. Horkheimer never "made interests a separate subject of scientific research". "’ He was not interested in interests in himself. ’"[52] He also rejected the dualism between the natural sciences and the humanities, so one can assume that he would not have agreed to a tripartite division. In the course of the positivism dispute, Adorno himself expressed concern about a division of the sciences:

I am not aiming at the conventional distinctions between the natural sciences and the humanities, like Rickert's between nomothetic and idiographic methods, which Popper sees more positively than I do.[53]

In addition, Horkheimer rejected pragmatism, which forms an essential basis of Habermas' theory, so clearly that he probably would not have approved his theory for this reason alone.[54]

Habermas' contribution to the discussion is not only a problem shift within critical philosophy, but also confuses the discussion of value judgments.

Based on the assumption that "neo-Marxist dialectical social theory does not only convey theoretical, but also practical, ethical knowledge"[55] Like Adorno, Habermas rejects the thesis of freedom from value judgments. However, under the term “postulate of freedom of value” he includes both the freedom of value judgments postulate as well as the freedom of value judgment thesis together as “dualism of facts and decisions.“[56]

But first, the summary of postulate and thesis is imprecise, and second, neither in Weber's nor in Popper's thesis was of decisions the talk, but each of Value judging and Values.

Habermas defines the "social norms" i.e. its counterpart to Weber's value judgments, as "rules of human behavior"[57], and he assumes the "positivists" to assume "that the areas of each of the two types of law are autonomous."[58] In addition, he gives the postulate of freedom from value judgments imprecisely as "the separation of knowledge and values"[59] again instead of normative or moral To speak of values.

In any case, Habermas believes that the validity of empirical hypotheses as true depends on decisions:[60]

Indeed, it would [the postulate of freedom from values] be endangered if the modern sciences were shown by means of immanent criticism a connection with the system of social work, which goes through the innermost structures of the theory itself and determines what should have empirical validity.[61]

Habermas thus represents a strange concept of truth, which he himself expresses as follows:

All assumptions are then considered to be empirically true that can guide success-controlled action without having been problematized by experimentally aimed failures.[62]

This idea that everything is true that has not yet been found to be untrue seems very implausible, because according to this concept of truth, a superstitious idea (eg: "If I distribute gold dust in my garden, I keep evil spirits away." ) be true, provided that it does not conflict with what is happening (e.g. by an evil spirit standing at my door in this case). Haberma's pragmatic concept of truth is one that also considers superstitions to be true in principle. Therefore, "a pragmatic theory of truth or confirmation is out of the question because of its lack of practicality, that is, according to the principles of pragmatism itself."[63]

Because Habermas uses the "dualism of facts and decisions"[64] rejects, he asks two questions that should decide the question in his favor: Admittedly, "social norms could not be justified directly in nature ..."[65]

But does that remove the normative meaning of a rational discussion of the concrete life context from which it emerged and on which it, whether it falls back ideologically, or critically affects it?

And conversely, the question arises all the more: is knowledge [...] seriously detached from any normative bond?[66]

Hans Albert points out that the nature of the question [already] shows [...] that he [Habermas] seems to interpret the aforementioned dualism in a way that is probably based on misunderstandings, because what he is questioning has little to do with the meaning of this distinction.[67]

In fact, Weber himself advocates the evaluation of a chair, i.e. a normative position on research results, and he never claimed that knowledge is detached from normative ties. All he said was that norms cannot be scientific because they cannot be checked as either right or wrong, and from this thesis resulted his demand, facts and value judgments Cut to represent from each other what is not to be equated with a valuation ban.

For Habermas the only solution seems to be to show the dependence of the validity of assertions of fact as true on evaluations with Popper's basic problem[68] can be solved by "the fact",

that we are normally not at all in doubt about the validity of a basic proposition; there is no doubt that the assumptions implied in its universal expressions about the lawful behavior of bodies would also be confirmed in all future test situations[69]

Basic sets are

as unproblematic convictions and pragmatically proven ideas. The theoretical basis of such undiscussed security of behavior is built from the planks of such latent convictions. On this universal ground of faith, each separate The pre-scientifically fixed beliefs are problematic and only recognizable in their merely hypothetical validity when the habit associated with them no longer guarantees the expected success in the current case.[70]

But what changes in the hypothetical character of basic sentences that we feel safe until a basic sentence collides with reality? That doesn't make it any less hypothetical. Because "the assertion that the problem really does not arise in this process has in no way the consequence of eliminating it as a methodological problem."[71]

The problem with Habermas' argument is that he obviously understands truth to be something more subjective than the concept of truth, which sees as true what exists independently of perception. Possibly his conception of the “truth” is legitimate, but his arguments are not suitable to refute the “postulate of value freedom” if he is either Weber's The postulate of freedom of value judgments or his thesis of freedom of value judgments. Just because I see one thing as factually true assume, becomes it doesn't mean it. And because of this argument, one thing does not become truer than another because I find it “good” or “bad”.

In addition to this solution to Popper's so-called basic problem, Habermas sees a circle in Popper's basic sentences, which are based on a resolution: If the acceptance of basic sentences is based on a joint decision, then this decision can only be made on the basis the Felling theory that should first emerge from the basic set. However, this circle can easily be broken up: If one adopts Poppers and Habermas' example of the legal system, Habermas would argue: One can only chop off a thief's hand as a thief if he is based on the legal system Condemnation of a thief constituted as such, would judge as a thief. As an alternative to this “circle”, however, it is quite conceivable to chop off a man's hand if he has taken something against the will of the owner without knowing the term “thief”.[72]

For Habermas, however, this circle is now "an indication of the embedding of the research process in a context [...] that can only be explicated hermeneutically"[73] because "the empirical validity of basic sentences [is measured] by a socially standardized behavioral expectation."[74]

In order to avoid this basic problem and the associated circle, "Habermas suggests the pragmatic interpretation of the research process."[75] Here Habermas introduces the concept of truth mentioned above, according to which everything is true that does not turn out to be problematic.[76] Keuth points out that Habermas' alternative is nothing more than "probation", which leads to recourse:

But if one judges a hypothesis according to the success of an action that is based on this hypothesis, then the judgment on the hypothesis presupposes a further judgment on the assumption that the success has occurred; a recourse arises. If all assumptions are to be judged in the same way, it never ends. If one breaks it off, however, [...] one leads pragmatism back to realism and the basic problem emerges again openly.[77]

What Habermas is apparently getting at with his argument is that no value-free knowledge is possible because our theories and hypotheses are already based on values. These should therefore always be taken into account.

But even if that were the case, one could not use this as an argument against the thesis of freedom from value judgments or the postulate of freedom from value judgments. Because neither is the Science proven by normative value judgments, nor can one argue against the separate presentation of factual assertions and value judgments.

Habermas' argumentation seems, like his definition of the "postulate" as "dualism of facts and decisions"[78] suggests to be based on a misunderstanding of the freedom of value judgment thesis or the freedom of value judgment postulate.

Because Habermas defends his position by saying that

the criticism [...] of the argument to the attitude and of the attitude to the argument [...] and [...] in this movement [receives] the comprehensive rationality that is still at work in the natural hermeneutics of colloquial language, so to speak which, however, must first be restored in the sciences between the divergent moments of formalized language and objectified experiences through critical discussions.[79]

Weber would probably have had no objection to this assumption that “attitudes” formulate the arguments, because it was important to him that the arguments, if they should be scientific, should also be rationally verifiable. The argument “war is reprehensible” is a normative value judgment that cannot be checked as “right” or “wrong”. The sentence “Peter finds war reprehensible”, on the other hand, is a factual assertion that is either right or wrong. As a result, it makes little sense to want to call unverifiable statements scientific. There is nothing wrong with assigning them a value that can be superior to a scientific statement. So it is certainly more important for a pious Christian to obey the commandment “You should not steal” than to orientate his behavior according to the thesis “Stealing is expedient”. Which, by the way, shows that one can also base one's behavior on factual assertions.

In summary, Habermas assumes with his theory of knowledge-guiding interests that our knowledge is different from our knowledge Interests is controlled. This means that we only perceive what we are interested in (in the broadest sense) and interest is always normative for Habermas[80]. Since, according to pragmatic notions, everything is true that has not yet been proven to be false, Habermas can claim that our knowledge has a normative foundation.

However, due to the implausible pragmatic concept of truth, this argument is not a successful refutation of Weber's thesis of freedom from value judgments. Weber starts from the “conventional” concept of truth, in which truth is viewed as that which exists outside of our perception. And if you want to find this truth, it makes more sense to keep research results free from value judgments in order to reproduce knowledge as undistorted as possible.


Max Weber's thesis that normative value judgments are impossible and, as a result, the requirement to present factual assertions and value judgments separately from one another, apparently did not appeal to some scholars, because in some cases considerable intellectual efforts were made to find a way, both the thesis and the also to refute the postulate. However, none of the opposing arguments were really convincing, which may also be due to the fact that scientists like Popper, Habermas and Adorno have misunderstood Weber's demand that scientific work must be free of any Be valuation. By refuting this requirement as impossible, they ran open doors, since even Weber never assumed that science could be completely free from any valuation. The earlier critics like Spranger and Strauss tried after all, Weber's To refute thesis and postulate, which failed. Spranger's assumption that scientific evaluation is possible if the researcher agrees objectively and exclusively in the interests of the researcher another values ​​was just as implausible as Strauss' idea that certain phenomena are constituted by value judgments alone.

Popper's criticism of the postulate of value judgments and his distinction between scientific and non-scientific values ​​is basically a repetition of Weber's postulate, except that Popper fails to distinguish between normative and, so to speak, “expedient” interests. Adorno rejects the thesis of freedom from value judgments for obvious reasons, since the critical theory he advocates and thus the idea of ​​the totality of society as well as the intertwining of knowledge and society forbids him to separate facts and values. But he too does not understand “values” only as normative value judgments, so that Weber would certainly have agreed that knowledge and society (and thus factual assertions and evaluations) are intertwined. Finally, Habermas tried to substantiate his theory of knowledge-guiding interests by refuting the freedom of value judgment. For him, knowledge depends on norms because the interest in knowledge that guides the scientific search for knowledge and thus knowledge is judgmental and thus normative. Since the starting point of scientific knowledge is normative, science itself is also normatively “underpinned”, so for Habermas norms are scientific.

It would have been interesting to know how the last three scientists referred to Weber's Freedom of value judgment thesis and his postulate of freedom of value judgments. One can assume, however, that its thesis Would have found approval at least in the form of a factual assertion.


Adorno and others: The Positivism Controversy in German Sociology. Darmstadt and Neuwied 1972.


Adorno, Th. W .: introduction. In: Adorno et al. 1972. pp. 7-80.

Adorno, Th. W .: Sociology and Empirical Research. In: Adorno et al. 1972. pp. 81-102.

Adorno, Th. W .: On the logic of the social sciences. In: Adorno et al. 1972. pp. 125-144.


Popper, K. R .: On the logic of the social sciences. In: Adorno et al. 1972. pp. 103-124.


Habermas, J .: Analytical philosophy of science and dialectics. In: Adorno et al. 1972. pp. 155-192.

Habermas, J .: Against a positivistic halved rationalism. In: Adorno et al. 1972. pp. 235-266.


Albert, H .: The myth of total reason. In: Adorno et al. 1972. pp. 193-232.

Dahms, H.-J .: Positivism dispute. The Frankfurt School's struggles with logical positivism, American pragmatism and critical rationalism. Frankfurt a.M. 1994.

Keuth, H .: Science and Value Judgment. On discussion of value judgments and the argument about positivism. Tubingen 1989.


[1] see Keuth, 7ff.

[2] hereinafter Positivism dispute

[3] see Dahms, 332

[4] see ibid., 351

[5] ibid., 334

[6] see Keuth, 37

[7] ibid., 7

[8] see Keuth, 7

[9] see ibid., 7

[10] Weber in Keuth, 34

[11] Keuth, 34. emphasis added by the author.

[12] see ibid., 30

[13] See Weber in: Keuth: "’ Under> Evaluations "...> practical" evaluations of an appearance that can be influenced by our actions as reprehensible or cheap be understood. "" p. 23 (emphasis added).

[14] Keuth, 6

[15] see Keuth, 38

[16] Spranger in: Keuth, 39

[17] see Keuth, 53

[18] see Keuth, 53

[19] ibid., 54

[20] ibid., 61

[21] see ibid., 57ff.

[22] Strauss in: Keuth, 62. Italics by the author.

[23] see Keuth, 62f.

[24] see ibid., 63

[25] see ibid., 65

[26] see Keuth, 68

[27] Popper, 113. It is emphasized by the author.

[28] ibid., 113. Italics by the author.

[29] ibid., 106. emphasis mine.

[30] ibid., 107. With the “misunderstanding” Popper means the inductive method, see ibid.

[31] Popper, 113f .. Italics by the author.

[32] ibid., 114f.

[33] see Keuth, 8

[34] Weber in: Keuth, 20. Italics by the author.

[35] Keuth, 21. Italics by the author.

[36] ibid., emphasis added by me.

[37] see Dahms, 349

[38] Adorno, 137

[39] see Dahms, 348

[40] Adorno, 139

[41] Adorno, 138

[42] Dahms, 349

[43] Adorno, 126

[44] ibid., 127

[45] ibid., 83

[46] Adorno, 83

[47] ibid., 9

[48] Keuth, 4th

[49] Dahms, 362

[50] ibid., 363

[51] see Dahms, 370

[52] Türcke in: Dahms, 374

[53] Adorno, 126

[54] see Dahms, 375

[55] Keuth, 93f.

[56] Habermas, 170

[57] ibid.

[58] Habermas, 170. That this assumption was in any case not supported by Weber is clear from the quote see above on p. 8.

[59] ibid., 171

[60] However, this does not yet provide any information about whether a hypothesis becomes true because one thinks it is “good”.

[61] Habermas, 183f.

[62] ibid., 246

[63] Dahms, 389

[64] Habermas, 170

[65] ibid., 175

[66] Habermas, 175

[67] Albert, 214

[68] Base sets are observation-based log sets. They form the basis of theories and hypotheses. According to Popper, these basic theorems are based on decisions. See Habermas, 176 and Keuth, 101f.

[69] Habermas, 180

[70] ibid.

[71] Albert, 216

[72] see also Keuth, 108ff.

[73] Keuth, 125

[74] Habermas, 180

[75] Keuth, 140. see Habermas, 180

[76] Habermas, 181

[77] Keuth, 140

[78] Habermas, 170

[79] ibid., 260

[80] Keuth, 170