More on Neurath on Verstehen: The Rejection of Weber’s Ideal-Type Methodology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

57 Downloads (Pure)


I argued that Neurath misunderstood Weber insofar as he overlooked his employment of causal reasoning as a control instance for the attribution of beliefs and desires or preferences and of intentions. Neurath’s opposition to Weber’s interpretive sociology contributed much to his own mischaracterization as a reductive behaviorist. But that Neurath was wrong on this count does not mean that he was wrong in every one of his assessments of Weber’s conception of social science as categorically different from natural science. Two prominent examples are Weber’s ideal type methodology and his claim that all of social science is interpretivist. The employment of so-called ideal types—concepts without exact complements in empirical reality—was regarded by Weber and others as a distinguishing criterion of social science that bars their integration into unified science. Neurath was skeptical about the use of Weberian ideal types for a number of reasons, all of them reflecting concern with the lack of empirical control over such theorizing, and he therefore rejected the categorical distinction Weber urged. This paper reconstructs Weber’s ideal type theory and Neurath’s criticism and briefly outlines his alternative.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe History of Understanding in Analytic Philosophy
Subtitle of host publicationAround Logical Empiricism
EditorsAdam Tamas Tuboly
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9781350159211, 9781350159228
ISBN (Print)9781350159204
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'More on Neurath on Verstehen: The Rejection of Weber’s Ideal-Type Methodology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this