Felix Kaufmann's Theory and Method in the Social Sciences by Robert S. Cohen, Ingeborg K. Helling

By Robert S. Cohen, Ingeborg K. Helling

This quantity comprises the English translation of Felix Kaufmann's (1895-1945) major paintings Methodenlehre der Sozialwissenschaften (1936). during this booklet, Kaufmann develops a basic thought of data of the social sciences in his function as a cross-border commuter among Husserl's phenomenology, Kelsen's natural thought of legislations and the logical positivism of the Vienna Circle. This multilayered inquiry connects the value-oriented reflections of a basic philosophy of technology with the specificity of the tools and theories of the social sciences, instead of summary average technological know-how and psychology. The center concentration of the examine is the try and elucidate how and less than what stipulations clinical wisdom approximately social proof, empirically justified and theoretically embedded, may be got. The empirical foundation of information in the social sciences kinds a phenomenological inspiration of expertise. in line with Kaufmann, this idea of expertise indicates a fancy constitution. in the meaning-interpretation of human motion because the middle of data within the social sciences, this constitution reaches out around the remoted act of verification towards the synthesis of exterior and inner studies. The publication opens with an in depth and priceless creation through Ingeborg okay. Helling, which introduces the ancient and theoretical history of Kaufmann's research and particularly illuminates his relation to Alfred Schütz and John Dewey. eventually, it comprises interviews with and letters to individuals of his relations, colleagues and students.

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Sample text

My father had anticipated the problems with the Nazis by 1931. And he used to tell a story about how he had just bought a radio and the first thing that they heard was something that the Nazis had done. And they never listened to the radio again. But despite that my father waited till almost too late because he felt that he had to write this one more book, the Methodenlehre to make his reputation. He was in all these circles because that was what he was really interested in. And he was in the business because he felt that his first responsibility was to earn enough money for his family.

The differences that emerge from the correspondence and from Schutz’s autobiographical statement quoted at the beginning of this section require some discussion since for sociology, they are not of solely historical interest. First, they show that the labels ‘Husserl’ and ‘phenomenology’ can be used to pursue different projects. In their early writings, both Schutz and Kaufmann state the relationship of their writings (1932, 1936a) to transcendental phenomenology. Kaufmann remarks that though he has been deeply influenced by Husserl, his book is not to be read as a phenomenological theory of the social sciences, the methodological Felix Kaufmann in Perspective: An Introductory Essay 23 analyses contained in it do not pursue the problems of transcendental phenomenology, their aim is a ‘formal’, not a ‘transcendental’ critique (cf.

Despite the fact that the schools of thought of post-World War I Vienna treated in this introduction – logical positivism, phenomenology, pure theory of law, and the Austrian school of marginal utility – produced radically different solutions to the problem of finding a basis for knowledge, their effort to solve this problem is indeed their common trait. All of them seek to analyze scientific knowledge and to establish rules for gaining and criticizing it. Among them, Kaufmann was the great mediator.

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