Objectivity, value spheres, and "inherent laws": On some suggestive isomorphisms between Weber, Bourdieu, and Luhmann

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (1):97-120 (2008)
Abstract
I give an account of Max Weber's views concerning the basis of the objectivity of the cultural sciences. In this connection, I offer a critical discussion of his distinction between different "value spheres," each with its own "intrinsic logic." I then consider parallels between Weber's "value spheres" and central elements of Bourdieu's field theory and Luhmann's systems theory, and try to show to what extent Bourdieu's and Luhmann's problems, and the solutions they suggest, can be seen as similar to Weber's. I conclude by a general consideration of Weber's, Bourdieu's, and Luhmann's approach to the problem of objectivity. Key Words: Max Weber • Pierre Bourdieu • Niklas Luhmann • social differentiation • objectivity • value spheres • inherent logic • field theory • systems theory.
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