Simmel and Weber as idealtypical founders of sociology

Philosophy and Social Criticism 25 (4):57-80 (1999)
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Abstract

Max Weber and Georg Simmel are considered as ideal-typical founders of sociology. Whereas Simmel pleaded for a large conception of sociology, which would include the epistemological and metaphysical issues as well, Max Weber explicitly excluded philosophical questions from the domain of sociology. A philosophical reading of Max Weber's sociology, which uncovers his philosophy in the margins of his sociological texts, shows, however, that his sociology is predicated on a disenchanted Weltanschauung, a decisionistic ideology and a nominalist epistemology. Key Words: critical theory • decisionism • disenchantment • epistemology • foundations • nominalism • philosophy • realism • Simmel • sociology • value-freedom • Weber.

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