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Epistemology & Philosophy of Science

Volume 55, Issue 4, 2018

Alexander Yu. Antonovski, Raisa E. Barash
Pages 174-188
DOI: 10.5840/eps201855475

Max Weber on Science: Reception and Perspectives

The article is devoted to social problems of modern science (as it were interpreted Max Weber) considered in the context of the system-communicative approach by N. Luhmann. In contrast to the modern work of art, the modern science, as M. Weber believes, is associated with the fundamental unattainability of “true being”, and, as a result, with the transitory character of any scientific achievement. The specialty of modern science, as Weber noted, is determinated, on the one hand by its self-understanding, due to the “peculiarity of the current moment”, and, on the other, by its transformation into a kind of blind spot of scientific observation. As a result, Weber formulated the main problem of the meaning of modern science: he wondered why any scientist needs a science under (1) external alienation and (2) inaccessibility of a scientific object? Moreover, the category of truth not just acquires its special value, but also sets a special meaning to the purpose of scientific communication, that becomes an object but not a property of scientific search. The main content of the article is the study of the Weberian concepts of the external (science as a profession) and internal (science as vocation) social factors of modern science as they were interpreted by E. von Kahler, G. Rickert, M. Scheller, K. Loewit. The authors discuss their attempts to modernize the fundamental Weberian distinction of truth/value as a principle of inclusion in the scientific community, that was formulated as a response to the “Weber’s challenge”. The authors argue that von Kahler criticized the Weberian concept for the incompatibility of the spatial and temporal discreteness of science within the “organic understanding” of the unity of the world. At the same time Scheler and Rickert payed special attention to the problem of subject specification of science. K. Levit discussed the possibility of Weber’s substitution of objectivity as a key distinction of modern knowledge with some opposite attribute. In the final part, the authors summarize the inconsistency of predictions about the further internal differentiation of scientific disciplines and the rejection of research motive for “genuine being”.

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