Journal for General Philosophy of Science 32 (2):209-236 (2001)
|Abstract||Max Weber's postulate of value-neutrality and the naturalistic justification of norms. The relationship between facts and values is an essential problem in philosophy, political science and sociology. Usually it is held that there is a wide gap between what is and what ought to be, the nature of which, however, is far from clear. My purpose is to elucidate this relationship by analyzing some well-known articles of Max Weber. I first present Weber's postulate of ‘value-neutrality’ and outline the reasons he gave for it. Then I proceed by examining Weber's scientific methodology, arguing that its presuppositions contradict the existence of a hiatus irrationalis between facts and values. This conclusion is supported by some historical examples which show that facts are constituted by values and values by facts. I propose that Weber's epistemological justification of value-neutrality be discarded in favor of a pragmatic one that can also be derived from his arguments. I conclude by sketching the outline of a naturalistic approach in philosophy and related disciplines. This approach admits the continuity of facts and values and provides a realistic view of every-day normative disputes|
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