For Fred Pollock on his seventy‑fifth birthday in cordial friendship

‘Open Sesame! I want to get out.’
Stanislav Jerzy Lec

In his incisive remarks on the Tübingen discussion of the two papers which marked the beginning in Germany of the public controversy on dialectics and positivistic sociology in the broadest sense, [1] Ralf Dahrendorf regrets that the discussion ‘generally lacked the intensity that would have been appropriate to the actual differences in views'. [2] According to him, some of the participants in the discussion censured 'the lack of tension between the symposiasts' papers'. [3] Dahrendorf, for his part, senses 'the irony of such points of agreement' and suggests that profound differences in the matters discussed are hidden behind similarities in formulation. But the conciliatory attitude of the two symposiasts was not the only reason why no discussion might actually came about in which reasons and counter‑reasons might have interacted upon one another. The symposiasts were primarily concerned to make their positions in general theoretically commensurable. Nor was it merely a question of the attitude of [1/2] several participants in the discussion who asserted their estrangement from philosophy—an estrangement which, in some cases, has only recently been acquired. The dialecticians have explicit recourse to philosophy, but the methodological interests of the positivists are hardly less alien to naively practised research activity. Both speakers, however, ought to plead guilty to one genuine lack which obstructed the discussion. Both failed to achieve the complete mediation of their theoretical interests with sociology as such. Much of what they said referred to science in general. A degree of bad abstraction is posited in all epistemology, and even in the criticism of it. [4] Anyone who does not remain satisfied with the immediacy of scientific procedure and renounces its requirements secures together with a less restricted view, illegitimate advantages. However, the claim that was occasionally voiced, namely that the Tübingen discussion confined itself to preliminaries and consequently was of no use to sociology as a distinctive discipline, misses the point. Arguments which commit themselves to the analytical theory of science without inquiring into its axioms—and 'preliminaries' can only imply this—become caught up in the infernal machine of logic. No matter how faithfully one may observe the principle of immanent critique, it cannot be applied in an unreflected manner when logical immanence itself, regardless of any particular content, is elevated to the sole standard. The critique of its constraining character is included in an immanent critique of an unleashed logic. Thought assumes this constraining character through unthinking identification with formal logical processes. Immanent critique has its limitation in the fetishized principle of immanent logic: this principle must be called by its proper name. Moreover, the material relevance of the supposedly preliminary discussions is by no means excluded in sociology. For instance, whether one can talk of ideology depends directly upon whether one can distinguish between illusion and essence, and is thus a central piece of sociological doctrine extending into all ramifications of the subject.. This material relevance of what sounds like epistemological or logical preliminaries is explained by the fact that the relevant controversies are, for their part, of a latently material nature. Either, knowledge of society is interwoven with the latter, and society enters the science of society in a concrete form, or society is [2/3] simply a product of subjective reason, beyond all further inquiry about its own objective mediations.

But behind the censured abstractness of the discussion lie far more serious difficulties. For the discussion to be possible it must proceed according to formal logic. But the thesis concerning the priority of the latter is, in turn, the core of the positivistic or—to replace the perhaps all too loaded term with one which might be acceptable to Popper—scientistic view of any science, sociology and the theory of science included. Amongst the topics in the controversy which must be considered is the question whether the inescapable logicality of the procedure actually gives absolute primacy to logic. But thoughts which demand the critical self-reflection of the primacy of logic in concrete disciplines inevitably end in a tactical disadvantage. They must reflect upon logic with the aid of means which, in turn, are largely logical—a contradiction of the type that Wittgenstein, as the most reflective positivist, realized all too clearly. If the present inevitable debate became one of 'Weltanschauungen' and were conducted from externally opposed standpoints, then it would a priori be unfruitful. But if it enters into argumentation then there is the danger that if the rules governing one position were to be tacitly recognized then this would inevitably supply the object of the discussion.

Dahrendorf answered my remark that it was not a matter of difference in standpoint but rather of determinable differences, with the question 'whether the first statement was correct but the latter false'. [5] Whilst in his view the two positions did not exclude discussion and argument, the differences in the type of argumentation were so profound 'that one must doubt whether Popper and Adorno could even agree upon a procedure with the aid of which their differences could be decided'. [6] The question is a genuine one. It can only be answered after the attempt has been made to produce such a decision and not before. This attempt should be made since the amiable tolerance towards two different coexisting types of sociology would amount to nothing more than the neutralization of the emphatic claim to truth. The task itself is paradoxical. The controversial questions must be discussed without logicistic prejudice, but also without dogmatism. Habermas implies this effort, and not crafty eristic arts, with the formulations 'flanking strategy' or 'behind positivism's back'. A [3/4] theoretical position ought to be found from which one can respond to the other person without, however, accepting a set of rules which are themselves a theme of the controversy—an intellectual no man's land. But this position cannot be conceived, in terms of a model derived from extensional logic, as something even more general than the two opposing positions. It is made concrete since even science, including formal logic, is not only a social force of production but also a social relation of production. One may doubt whether this is acceptable to the positivists. It critically affects the basic thesis of the absolute independence of science and its constitutive character for all knowledge. One ought to ask whether a valid disjunction exists between knowledge and the real life‑process, or whether it is not rather the case that knowledge is mediated through the latter; or whether its own autonomy, through which it has made itself productively independent of its genesis and objectivated itself, can be derived, in turn, from its social function; or whether it forms an immanent context and yet, in terms of its constitution, is situated in a field which surrounds it and even acts upon its immanent structure. But such a dual nature, no matter how plausible, would clash with the principle of non‑contradiction, science would then be both independent and dependent. A dialectics which advocated this could, in so doing, no more act as if it were 'privileged thought' than it could elsewhere. It cannot set itself up as a specific subjective capacity, with which one person is gifted but which is denied to others. Nor can it present itself as intuitionism. Conversely, the positivists must make sacrifices. They must relinquish the attitude which Habermas calls the 'systematic pretence of failure to understand', and not unhesitatingly disqualify out of hand as unintelligible anything that fails to coincide with their 'criteria of meaning'. In view of their increasing animosity towards philosophy, one suspects that certain sociologists are taking great pains to shake off their own past. But the past usually takes its revenge.

At first sight the controversy seems to be that the positivists’ position represents a strict concept of objective scientific validity which is weakened by philosophy, whilst the dialecticians proceed speculatively, as the philosophical tradition would suggest. However, everyday linguistic usage converts the concept of the speculative into its opposite. It is no longer interpreted, as it was by Hegel, in the sense of the critical self‑reflection of the intellect, [4/5] of self‑reflection's boundedness and self‑correction. But rather it is imperceptibly interpreted in a popular manner. Here, he who speculates is viewed as an unrestricted wild thinker who in his vanity dispenses with logical self‑criticism and any confrontation with the facts. Since the collapse of the Hegelian system, and perhaps as a consequence of it, the idea of speculation has become so inverted that it resembles the Faustian cliché of the beast on the barren heath. What was once intended to signify the thought that renounces its own narrowness and in so doing gains objectivity, is now equated with subjective caprice. It is caprice since speculation lacks generally valid restraints; it is subjectivism since the concept of the fact of speculation is dissolved through emphasis upon mediation, through the 'concept' which appears as a relapse into scholastic realism and according to positivistic ritual, as that product of the thinker which boldly confuses itself with an entity in itself. On the other hand, stronger than the tu quoque argument which Albert regards with suspicion, is the thesis that the positivist position, where pathos and influence are inherent in its claim to objectivity, is in turn, subjectivist. This was anticipated by Hegel's critique of what he termed the philosophy of reflection. Carnap's jubilation was based on the claim that nothing remained of philosophy but its method. His method of logical analysis is the prototype of the quasi‑ontological predisposition towards subjective reason. [7] Positivism, to which contradictions are anathema, possesses its innermost contradiction unbeknown to itself, in the following: namely, that it adheres to an objectivity which is most external to its sentiments and purged of all subjective projections, but thereby simply becomes all the more entangled in the particularity of mere subjective instrumental reason. Those who regard themselves as victors over idealism are far closer to it than critical theory. They hypostatize the knowing subject, not as an absolute subject or a source, but as the topos noetikos of all validity—of scientific control. Whilst they wish to liquidate philosophy, they advocate a philosophy which, resting on the authority of science, seeks to immunize itself against itself. In Carnap's work, the final link in the Hume‑Mach‑Schlick chain, the connection with the older subjective positivism is still revealed through his sensualist interpretation of protocol statements. Since these scientific statements are [5/6] simply given in language and are not immediately given as sense certainty, this sensualist interpretation gave rise to Wittgenstein's problematic. But the latent subjectivism is in no way penetrated by the language theory of the Tractatus. There, one reads: 'Philosophy does not result in "philosophical propositions", but rather in the clarification of propositions. Without philosophy thoughts are, as it were, cloudy and indistinct: its task is to make them clear and to give them sharp boundaries.’ [8] But clarity is only accorded to subjective consciousness. In a scientific spirit, Wittgenstein exaggerates the claim of objectivity to such an extent that it dissolves and yields to the total paradox of philosophy, which forms Wittgenstein's nimbus. Latent subjectivism has formed a counterpoint to the objectivism of the entire nominalist Enlightenment, the permanent reductio ad hominem. Thought need not adapt to it. It has the power to reveal critically the latent subjectivism. It is amazing that the supporters of scientism, including Wittgenstein, were no more disturbed by this antagonism than by the permanent antagonism between the formal logical and empiricist currents, which, distorted within positivism, brings to light an extremely real antagonism. Even for Hume the doctrine of the absolute validity of mathematics was heterogenously contrasted with sceptical sensualism. Here the relative failure of scientism to achieve a mediation between facticity and concept becomes evident. If the two are not united then they become logically incompatible. One can neither advocate the absolute priority of the individual entity over 'ideas', nor can one maintain the absolute independence of the purely ideal, namely the mathematical, realm. No matter how one interprets it, as long as Berkeley's esse est percipi is retained, it is difficult to see where the claim to validity of the formal disciplines is derived from, for this claim is not founded in anything sensuous. Conversely, all the connecting mental operations of empiricism, for which the connectedness of statements is a criterion of truth, postulate formal logic. This simple consideration ought to be sufficient to induce scientism to take up dialectics. The unsatisfactory abstract polarity of the formal and the empirical is extended, in a highly tangible manner, to the social sciences. Formal sociology is the external complement to what Habermas has termed restricted experience. The theses of sociological formalism, [6/7] for instance those of Simmel, are not in themselves false. Yet the mental acts are false which detach these from the empirical, hypostatize them and then subsequently fill them out through illustration. The favourite discoveries of formal sociology, such as the bureaucratization of proletarian parties, have their fundamentum in re, but they do not invariably arise from the higher concept 'organization in general' but rather from societal conditions, such as the constraint of asserting oneself within an overwhelming system whose power is realized through the diffusion of its own organizational forms over the whole. This constraint infects the opponents of the system and not merely through social contamination but also in a quasi‑rational manner—so that the organization is able, at any time, to represent effectively the interests of its members. Within a reified society, nothing has a chance to survive which is not in turn reified. The concrete historical generality of monopolistic capitalism extends into the monopoly of labour, with all its implications. A relevant task for empirical sociology would be to analyse the intermediate members and to show in detail how the adaptation to the changed capitalist relations of production includes those whose objective interests conflict, in the long run, with this adaptation.

The predominant positivistic sociology can rightly be termed subjective in the same sense as subjective economics. In the work of one of economics' major representatives, Vilfredo Pareto, contemporary sociological positivism has one of its roots. 'Subjective' has a double meaning here. Firstly, as Habermas expresses it, such a sociology operates with catalogues of hypotheses or schemata imposed upon the material. Whilst undoubtedly, in this operation, it is the material which prevails, depending upon the section into which it must be incorporated, what is more decisive is whether the material—the phenomena—is interpreted in accordance with its own predetermined structure, and not simply established by science in a classificatory manner. Just how decisive is the choice of the supposed system of co‑ordinates, is exemplified by the alternative of subsuming certain social phenomena under concepts such as prestige and status, or deriving them from objective relations of domination. According to the latter interpretation,  status and prestige are subject to the dynamics of class relations and, in principle, they can be conceptualized as capable of abolition. But their classificatory subsumption, on the other hand, tends to accept such categories as simply given, and [7/8] probably untransformable. A distinction which apparently concerns only methodology therefore has vital concrete consequences. The subjectivism of positivistic sociology accords with this in its second meaning. In quite a considerable area of its activity at least, it takes as its starting point opinions, modes of behaviour and the self‑understanding of individual subjects and of society. In such a conception, society is largely what must be investigated statistically: the average consciousness or unconsciousness of societalized and socially acting subjects, and not the medium in which they move. The objectivity of the structure which, for the positivists, is a mythological relic is, according to dialectical theory, the a priori of cognitive subjective reason. If subjective reason became aware of this then it would have to determine the structure of its own law-like nature and not present it independently according to the procedural rules of conceptual order. The condition and the content of the social facts to be derived from individual subjects are provided by this structure. Regardless of the extent to which the dialectical conception of society has realized its claim to objectivity, and whether this is still possible for it, the dialectical conception takes this claim more seriously than do its opponents, who purchase the apparent security of their objectively valid findings by foregoing, from the outset, the emphatic idea of objectivity, which was once intended with the concept of the in‑itself. The positivists prejudice the outcome of the debate in so far as they insinuate that they represent a new advanced type of thought whose views, as Albert puts it, have as yet not prevailed everywhere, but compared with which dialectics has become archaic. This view of progress disregards the price paid which sabotages it. The mind is to advance by fettering itself as mind for the benefit of the facts—truly a logical contradiction. Albert asks, 'Why should not new ideas similarly receive a chance to prove themselves?" [9] By 'new ideas' he means a mentality which is not generally favourably disposed towards ideas. Its claim to modernity can only be that of advanced Enlightenment. But this claim requires the critical self‑reflection of subjective reason. The advance of the latter, which is permeated to its innermost core with the dialectics of Enlightenment, cannot, without difficulty, be assumed to be a higher objectivity. This is the focal point of the controversy. [8/9]

Since dialectics is not a method independent of its object, it cannot, unlike a deductive system, be represented as a for‑itself [Für sich]. It does not accede to the criterion of the definition but instead it criticizes it. What is more serious is that, after the irrevocable collapse of the Hegelian system, dialectics has forfeited the former, profoundly questionable, consciousness of philosophical certainty. The accusation of the positivists, namely that dialectics lacks a foundation upon which everything else might be constructed, is held against it even by currently predominant philosophy with the claim that it lacks άợχή [**]. In its idealist version, dialectics ventured, through numerous mediations and, in fact, by virtue of Being's own non‑identity with Spirit, to present Being as perfectly identical with the latter. This was unsuccessful and consequently, in its present form, dialectics adopts a position towards the 'myth of total reason' no less polemical than Albert's scientism. Dialectics is unable to take its claim to truth as guaranteed, as it did in its idealist phase. For Hegel the dialectical movement was able, with difficulty, to consider itself to be a comprehensive explanatory principle—to be 'science'. For, in its first steps and positings, the thesis of identity was always present, a thesis which in the development of the analyses was neither corroborated nor explicated. Hegel described it with the metaphor of the circle. Such closedness, which necessarily implied that nothing remained essentially unrecognized or fortuitous outside dialectics, has been exploded along with its constraint and unambiguity. Dialectics does not possess a canon of thought which might regulate it. Nevertheless, it still has its raison d'être. In terms of society, the idea of an objective system‑in‑itself is not as illusory as it seemed to be after the collapse of idealism, and as positivism asserts. The notion of the great tradition of philosophy, which positivism considers to be outdated, [10] is not indebted to the allegedly aesthetic qualities of intellectual achievements but rather to a content of experience which, because of its transcendence into individual consciousness would tempt me to hypostatize it as being absolute. Dialectics is able to legitimize itself by translating this content back into the experience from which it arose. But this is the experience of the mediation of all that is individual through the objective societal [9/10] totality. In traditional dialectics, it was turned on its head with the thesis that antecedent objectivity—the object itself, understood as totality—was the subject. Albert objects that in my Tübingen paper there are merely hints at totality. [11] Yet it is almost tautological to say that one cannot point to the concept of totality in the same manner as one can point to the facts, from which totality distances itself as a concept. 'And to this first, still quite abstract approximation, let us add a further qualification, namely the dependency of all individuals on the totality which they form. In such a totality, everyone is also dependent on everyone else. The whole survives only through the unity of the functions which its members fulfil. Each individual without exception must take some function on himself in order to prolong his existence; indeed, while his function lasts, he is taught to express his gratitude for it.' [12]

Albert accuses Habermas of adhering an idea of total reason, together with all the sins of the philosophy of identity. In objective terms, Albert claims that dialectics carries on, in an obsolete Hegelian manner, with a notion of the societal whole that cannot be realized by research and which thus belongs on the rubbish dump. The fascination exerted by Merton's 'theory of the middle range' can certainly be explained by the scepticism towards a category of totality, whilst the objects of such theorems are violently torn from the encircling contexts. According to the simplest common sense, the empirical strives towards totality. If one studies social conflict in a case such as the hostile reactions in Berlin towards students in 1967, then the occasion of the individual situation is not sufficient for an explanation. A thesis such as the following: that the population simply reacted in a spontaneous manner towards a group which it considered to be endangering the interests of a city maintained under precarious conditions—would be inadequate, and not only because of the doubtfulness of the political and ideological connections assumed.

Such a thesis in no way makes plausible the rage against a specific visible minority, easily identifiable according to popular prejudice, which immediately exploded into physical violence. The most widespread and effective stereotypes in vogue against the students [10/11] — that they demonstrate instead of working (a flagrant untruth), that they squander the taxpayers' money which pays for their studies, and similar statements—apparently have nothing to do with the acute situation. The similarity between such slogans and those of the jingoistic press is obvious. But this press would scarcely be influential if it did not act upon dispositions of opinion and instinctive reactions of numerous individuals and both confirm and strengthen them. Anti‑intellectualism and the readiness to project discontent with questionable conditions onto those who express the questionableness, make up the reactions to immediate causes which serve as a pretence or as a rationalization. If it were the case that even the situation in Berlin was a factor which helped to release the mass psychological potential, then it could not be understood other than within the wider context of international politics. It is a narrow line of thought which deduces from the so‑called Berlin situation what arises from power struggles actualized in the Berlin conflict. When lengthened, the lines lead to the social network. Owing to the infinite plurality of its moments, it can, of course, scarcely be encapsulated by scientific prescriptions. But if it is eliminated from science then the phenomena are attributed to false causes, and the dominant ideology regularly profits from this. That society does not allow itself to be nailed down as a fact actually only testifies to the existence of mediation. This implies that the facts, are neither final nor impenetrable, even though the prevailing sociology regards them as such in accordance with the model of sense data found in earlier epistemology. In them there appears that which they are not. [13] Not the least significant of the differences between the positivist and dialectical conceptions is that positivism, following Schlick's maxim, will only allow appearance to be valid, whilst dialectics will not allow itself to be robbed of the distinction between essence and appearance. For its part, it is a societal law that decisive structures of the social process, such as that of the inequality of the alleged equivalency of exchange, cannot become apparent without the intervention of theory. Dialectical thought counters the suspicion of what Nietzsche termed nether‑worldly [hinterweltlerisch] with the assertion that concealed essence is non‑essence. Dialectical thought, irreconcilable with the philosophical tradition, affirms this non‑essence, not [11/12] because of its power but instead it criticizes its contradiction of 'what is appearing' [Erscheinendes] and, ultimately, its contradiction of the real life of human beings. One must adhere to Hegel's statement that essence must appear. Totality is not an affirmative but rather a critical category. Dialectical critique seeks to salvage or help to establish what does not obey totality, what opposes it or what first forms itself as the potential of a not yet existent individuation. The interpretation of facts is directed towards totality, without the interpretation itself being a fact. There is nothing socially factual which would not have its place in that totality. It is pre‑established for all individual subjects since they obey its 'contrainte' even in themselves and even in their monadological constitution and here in particular, conceptualize totality. To this extent, totality is what is most real. Since it is the sum of individuals' social relations which screen themselves off from individuals, it is also illusion—ideology. A liberated mankind would by no means be a totality. Their being‑in‑themselves is just as much their subjugation as it deceives them about itself as the true societal substratum. This certainly does not fulfil the desideratum of a logical analysis of the concept of totality, [14] as the analysis of something free from contradiction, which Albert uses against Habermas, for the analysis terminates in the objective contradiction of totality. But the analysis should protect recourse to totality from the accusation of decisionistic arbitrariness. [15] Habermas, no more than any other dialectician, disputes the possibility of an explication of totality; he simply disputes its verifiability according to the criterion of facts which is transcended through the movement towards the category of totality. Nevertheless, it is not separate from the facts but is immanent to them as their mediation. Formulated provocatively, totality is society as a thing‑in‑itself, with all the guilt of reification. But it is precisely because this thing‑in‑itself is not yet the total societal subject—nor is it yet freedom, but rather extends nature in a heteronomous manner—that an indissoluble moment is objective to it such as Durkheim, though somewhat one-sidedly, declared to be the essence of the social as such. To this extent it is also 'factual'. The concept of facticity, which the positivistic view guards as its final substratum, is a function of the same society about which scientistic sociology, insistent upon this opaque [12/13] substratum, promises to remain silent. The absolute separation of fact and society is an artificial product of reflection which must be derived from, and refuted through, a second reflection.

In a footnote, Albert writes the following:

'Habermas quotes in this context Adorno's reference to the untestability of the dependence of each social phenomenon "upon the totality". The quotation stems from a context in which Adorno, with reference to Hegel, asserts that refutation is only fruitful as immanent critique; see Adorno, "On the Logic of the Social Sciences", pp. 113f. Here the meaning of Popper's comments on the problem of the critical test is roughly reversed through "further reflection". It seems to me that the untestability of Adorno's assertion is basically linked with the fact that neither the concept of totality used, nor the nature of the dependence asserted, is clarified to any degree. Presumably, there is nothing more behind it than the idea that somehow everything is linked with everything else. To what extent any view could gain a methodical advantage from such an idea would really have to be demonstrated. In this matter, verbal exhortations of totality ought not to suffice.' [16]

However, the 'untestability' does not reside in the fact that no plausible reason can be given for recourse to totality, but rather that totality, unlike the individual social phenomena to which Albert's criterion of testability is limited, is not factual. To the objection that behind the concept of totality there lies nothing more than the triviality that everything is linked with everything else, one should reply that the bad abstraction of that statement 'is not so much the sign of feeble thinking as it is that of a shabby permanency in the constitution of society itself: that of exchange. The first, objective abstraction takes place; not so much in the scientific account of it, as in the universal development of the exchange system itself, which happens independently of the qualitative attitudes of producer and consumer, of the mode of production, even of need, which the social mechanism tends to satisfy as a kind of secondary by‑product. A humanity classified as a network of consumers, the human beings who actually have the needs, has been socially preformed beyond anything which one might naïvely imagine, and this not only by the technical [13/14] level of productive forces but just as much by the economic relationships themselves in which they function. The abstraction of exchange value is a priori allied with the domination of the general over the particular, of society over its captive membership. It is not at all a socially neutral phenomenon as the logistics of reduction, of uniformity of work time pretend. The domination of men over men is realized through the reduction of men to agents and bearers of commodity exchange. The concrete form of the total system requires everyone to respect the law of exchange if he does not wish to be destroyed, irrespective of whether profit is his subjective motivation or not.' [17] The crucial difference between the dialectical and the positivistic view of totality is that the dialectical concept of totality is intended 'objectively', namely, for the understanding of every social individual observation, whilst positivistic systems theories wish, in an uncontradictory manner, to incorporate observations in a logical continuum, simply through the selection of categories as general as possible. In so doing, they do not recognize the highest structural concepts as the precondition for the states of affairs subsumed under them. If positivism denigrates this concept of totality as mythological, pre‑scientific residue then it mythologizes science in its assiduous struggle against mythology. Its instrumental character, or rather its orientation towards the primacy of available methods instead of towards reality and its interest, inhibits insights which affect both scientific procedure and its object. The core of the critique of positivism is that it shuts itself off from both the experience of the blindly dominating totality and the driving desire that it should ultimately become something else. It contents itself with the senseless ruins which remain after the liquidation of idealism, without interpreting, for their part, both liquidation and what is liquidated, and rendering them true. Instead, positivism is concerned with the disparate, with the subjectivistically interpreted datum and the associated pure thought forms of the human subject. Contemporary scientism unites these now fragmented moments of knowledge in a manner as external as that of the earlier philosophy of reflection which, for this reason, deserved to be criticized by speculative dialectics. Dialectics also contains the opposite of idealistic hubris. It abolishes the illusion of a somehow natural‑transcendental dignity [14/15] of the individual subject and becomes conscious of it in its forms of thought as something societal in itself. To this extent, dialectics is 'more realistic' than scientism with all its 'criteria of meaning'.

But since society is made up of human subjects and is constituted through their functional connection, its recognition through living, unreduced subjects is far more commensurable with 'reality itself' than in the natural sciences which are compelled, by the alien nature of a non‑human object, to situate objectivity entirely within the categorial mechanism, in abstract subjectivity. Freyer has drawn attention to this. The distinction between the nomothetic and idiographic, made by the south‑west German neo‑Kantian school, can be left out of consideration all the more readily since an unabbreviated theory of society cannot forego the laws of its structural movement. The commensurability of the object—society—with the knowing subject exists just as much as it does not exist. This too is difficult to combine with discursive logic. Society is both intelligible and unintelligible. It is intelligible in so far as the condition of exchange, which is objectively decisive, itself implies an abstraction and, in terms of its own objectivity, a subjective act. In it the human subject truly recognizes himself. In terms of the philosophy of science, this explains why Weberian sociology concentrates upon the concept of rationality. In rationality, regardless of whether consciously or unconsciously, Weber sought what was identical in subject and object, namely that which would permit something akin to knowledge of the object [Sache], instead of its splintering into data and its processing. Yet the objective rationality of society, namely that of exchange, continues to distance itself through its dynamics, from the model of logical reason. Consequently, society—what has been made independent—is, in turn, no longer intelligible; only the law of becoming independent is intelligible. Unintelligibility does not simply signify something essential in its structure but also the ideology by means of which it arms itself against the critique of its irrationality. Since rationality or spirit has separated itself as a partial moment from the living human subjects and has contended itself with rationalization, it moves forward towards something opposed to the subjects. The aspect of objectivity as unchangeability, which it thus assumes, is then mirrored in the reification of the knowing consciousness. The contradiction in the concept of society as intelligible and unintelligible is the driving force of rational [15/16] critique, which extends to society and its type of rationality, namely the particular. If Popper seeks the essence of criticism in the fact that progressive knowledge abolishes its own logical contradictions, then his own ideal becomes criticism of the object if the contradiction has its own recognizable location in it, and not merely in the knowledge of it. Consciousness which does not blind itself to the antagonistic nature of society, nor to society's immanent contradiction of rationality and irrationality, must proceed to the critique of society without μετάβασις είς άλλο γέυος, without means other than rational ones.

In his essay on the analytical theory of science, Habermas has justified the necessity of the transition to dialectics with particular reference to social scientific knowledge. [18] According to Habermas' argument, not only is the object of knowledge mediated through the subject, as positivism would admit, but the reverse is just as true: namely, that the subject, for its part, forms a moment of the objectivity which he must recognize; that is, it forms a moment of the societal process. In the latter, with increasing scientization, knowledge becomes to an increasing extent a force of production. Dialectics would like to confront scientism in the latter's own sphere in so far as it strives for a more correct recognition of contemporary societal reality. It seeks to help to penetrate the curtain hanging before reality—a curtain which science helps to weave. The harmonistic tendency of science, which makes the antagonisms of reality disappear through its methodical processing, lies in the classificatory method which is devoid of the intention of those who utilize it. It reduces to the same concept what is not fundamentally homonymous, what is mutually opposed, through the selection of the conceptual apparatus, and in the service of its unanimity. In recent years, an example of this tendency has been provided by Talcott Parsons' well‑known attempt to create a unified science of man. His system of categories subsumes individual and society, psychology and sociology alike, or at least places them in a continuum. [19] The ideal of continuity, current since Descartes and Leibniz especially, has become dubious, though not merely as a result of recent natural scientific [16/17] development. In society this ideal conceals the rift between the general and the particular, in which the continuing antagonism expresses itself. The unity of science represses the contradictory nature of its object. A price has to be paid for the apparently contagious satisfaction that nonetheless can be derived from the unified science: such a science cannot grasp the societally posited moment of the divergence of individual and society and of their respective disciplines. The pedantically organized total scheme, which stretches from the individual and his invariant regularities to complex social structures, has room for everything except for the fact that the individual and society, although not radically different, have historically grown apart. Their relationship is contradictory since society largely denies individuals what it—always a society of individuals—promises them and why society coalesces at all; whilst on the other hand, the blind, unrestrained interests of individuals inhibit the formation of a possible total societal interest. The ideal of a unified science merits an epithet, but one which it would by no means please it, namely, that of the aesthetic—just as one speaks of 'elegance' in mathematics. The organizatory rationalization in which the programme of unified science results, as opposed to the disparate individual sciences, greatly prejudices questions in the philosophy of science which are thrown up by society. If, in Wellmer's words, 'meaningful becomes a synonym for scientific', then science, socially mediated, guided and controlled, paying existing society and its tradition a calculable tribute, usurps the role of the arbiter veri et falsi. For Kant, the epistemological constitutive question was that of the possibility of science. Now, in simple tautology, the question is referred back to science. Insights and modes of procedure which, instead of remaining within valid science affect it critically, are banished a limine. Thus it is that the apparently neutral concept of conventionalist bond' has fatal implications. Through the back door of conventionalism social conformism is smuggled in as a criterion of meaning for the social sciences. The effort of analysing in detail the entanglement of conformism and the self-enthronement of science proved worthwhile. More than thirty years ago, Horkheimer drew attention to the whole complex in 'The Latest Attack upon Metaphysics'. [20] The concept of [17/18] science is also assumed by Popper as if it were self‑evident. But such a concept contains its own historical dialectic. When Fichte's Theory of Science and Hegel's Science of Logic were written at the turn of the eighteenth century, the present concept of science with its claim to exclusiveness would have been critically placed on the level of the pre‑scientific, whilst nowadays what was then termed science, no matter how chimerically it was called absolute knowledge, would be rejected as extra‑scientific by what Popper refers to as scientism. The course of history, and not merely of intellectual history, which led to this is by no means unqualified progress, as the positivists would have it. All the mathematical refinement of the highly developed scientific methodology does not allay the suspicion that the elaboration of science into a technique alongside others has undermined its own concept. The strongest argument for this would be that what appears as a goal to scientific interpretation, namely fact‑finding, is only a means towards theory for emphatic science. Without theory the question remains open as to why the whole enterprise was undertaken. However, the reformulation of the idea of science begins even with the idealists, in particular with Hegel, whose absolute knowledge coincides with the manifest concept of what exists thus—and not otherwise [so und nicht anders Seiendes]. The point of attack for the critique of this development is not the crystallization of particular scientific methods the fruitfulness of which is beyond question but rather the now dominant suggestion, crudely urged on the authority of Max Weber, that extra‑scientific interests are external to science and that the two should be strictly separated. Whilst, on the one hand, the allegedly purely scientific interests are rigid channels and are frequently neutralizations of extra‑scientific interests which, in their weakened form, extend into science, the scientific body of instruments, on the other hand, which provides the canon of what is scientific, is also instrumental in a manner in which instrumental reason has never dreamt. This body of instruments is the means for answering questions which both originate beyond science and strive beyond it. In so far as the ends‑means rationality of science ignores the Telos which lies in the concept of instrumentalism and becomes its own sole purpose, it contradicts its own instrumentality. But this is what society demands of science. In a determinably false society that contradicts the interests both of its members and of the whole, all knowledge [18/19] which readily subordinates itself to the rules of this society that are congealed in science, participates in its falsehood.

The current academically attractive distinction between the scientific and the pre-scientific, to which even Albert adheres, cannot be upheld. The revision of this dichotomy is legitimated by a fact which can constantly be observed and is even confirmed by positivists, namely, that there is a split in their thinking in that, regardless of whether they speak as scientists or non‑scientists, they nevertheless utilize reason. What is classified as pre‑scientific is not simply what has not yet passed through, or avoided, the self‑critical work of science advocated by Popper. But rather it subsumes all the rationality and experience which are excluded from the instrumental determinations of reason. Both moments are necessarily dependent upon one another. Science, which incorporates the pre‑scientific impulses without transforming them, condemns itself to indifference no less than do amateur arbitrary procedures. In the disreputable realm of the pre-scientific, those interests meet which are severed by the process of scientization. But these interests are by no means inessential. Just as there certainly would be no advance of consciousness without the scientific discipline, it is equally certain that the discipline also paralyses the organs of knowledge. The more science is rigified in the shell which Max Weber prophesied for the world, the more what is ostracized as pre‑scientific becomes the refuge of  knowledge. The contradiction in the relationship of the spirit to science responds to the latter's own contradiction. Science postulates a coherent immanent connection and is a moment of the society which denies it coherence. If it escapes this antinomy, be it by cancelling its truth content through a sociology of knowledge relativization, or by failing to recognize its entanglement in the faits sociaux, and sets itself up as something absolute and self-sufficient, then it contents itself with illusions which impair science in what it might achieve. Both moments are certainly disparate but not indifferent to one another. Only insight into science's inherent societal mediations contributes to the objectivity of science, since it is no mere vehicle of social relations and interests. Its absolutization and its instrumentalization, both products of subjective reason, are complementary. Scientism becomes false with regard to central states of affairs by engaging itself one‑sidedly in favour of the unified moment of individual and society for the sake of logical systematics, and by devaluing [19/20] as an epiphenomenon the antagonistic moment which cannot be incorporated into such logical systematics. According to pre-dialectical logic, the constitutum cannot be the constituens and the conditioned cannot be the condition for its own condition. Reflection upon the value of societal knowledge within the framework of what it knows forces reflection beyond this simple lack of contradiction. The inescapability of paradox, which Wittgenstein frankly expressed, testifies to the fact that generally the lack of contradiction cannot, for consistent thought, have the last word, not even when consistent thought sanctions its norm. Wittgenstein's superiority over the positivists of the Vienna Circle is revealed in a striking manner here: the logician perceives the limit of logic. Within its framework, the relationship between language and world, as Wittgenstein presented it, could not be treated unambiguously. For him language forms a closed immanent context through which the non‑verbal moments of knowledge, for instance sense data, are mediated. But it is not the intention of language to refer to what is non‑verbal. Language is both language and autarchy. In accord with the scientistic assumption of rules only being valid within it, it is as a moment within reality, a fait social. [21] Wittgenstein had to account for the fact that it removed itself from all that factually exists since the latter is only 'given' through it, and yet is conceivable only as a moment of the world which, in his view, can only be known through language. At this point, he had reached the threshold of a dialectical awareness of the so‑called problems of constitution and had reduced ad absurdum scientism's right to cut off dialectical thought. This affects both the current scientistic notion of the subject, even of the transcendental subject of knowledge, which [20/21] is seen as dependent upon its object as a precondition for its own possibility, and it also affects the current scientistic notion of the object. It is no longer an X whose substratum must be composed from the context of subjective determinations but rather, being itself determined, it helps to determine the subjective function.

The validity of knowledge, and not only of natural laws, is certainly largely independent of its origin. In Tübingen the two symposiasts were united in their critique of the sociology of knowledge and of Pareto's sociologism. Marx's theory opposes it. The study of ideology, of false consciousness, of socially necessary illusion would be nonsense without the concept of true consciousness and objective truth. Nevertheless, genesis and validity cannot be separated without contradiction. Objective validity preserves the moment of its emergence and this moment permanently affects it. No matter how unassailable logic is, the process of abstraction which removes it from attack is that of the controlling will. It excludes and disqualifies what it controls. In this dimension logic is 'untrue'; its unassailability is itself the intellectualized societal taboo. Its illusory nature is manifested in the contradictions encountered by reason in its objects. In the distancing of the subject from the object, which realizes the history of the mind, the subject gave way to the real superiority of objectivity. Its domination was that of the weaker over the stronger. Perhaps in no other way would the self‑assertion of the human species have been possible. The process of scientific objectivation would certainly not have been possible. But the more the subject seized for itself the aims of the object, the more it, in turn, unconsciously rendered itself an object. This is the prehistory of the reification of consciousness. What scientism simply assumes to be progress was always, at the same time, a sacrifice. What in the object does not correspond to the ideal of a 'pure' subject for‑itself, alienated from its own living experience, slips through the net. To this extent, advancing consciousness was accompanied by the shadow of false consciousness. Subjectivity has in itself eradicated what does not yield to the unambiguousness and identity of its claim to domination. Subjectivity, which is really always object, has reduced itself no less than its object. One should also recall the moments which are lost in scientific methodology's curtailment of objectivity, and similarly the loss of the spontaneity of knowledge inflicted by the subject upon himself in order to master his own restricted achievements. Carnap, one of [21/22] the most radical positivists, once characterized as a stroke of good luck the fact that the laws of logic and of pure mathematics apply to reality. A mode of thought, whose entire pathos lies in its enlightened state, refers at this central point to an irrational—mythical—concept, such as that of the stroke of luck, simply in order to avoid an insight which, in fact, shakes the positivistic position; namely, that the supposed lucky circumstance is not really one at all but rather the product of the ideal of objectivity based on the domination of nature or, as Habermas puts it, the 'pragmatistic' ideal of objectivity. The rationality of reality, registered with relief by Carnap, is simply the mirroring of subjective ratio. The epistemological metacritique denies the validity of the Kantian claim to the subjective a priori but affirms Kant's view to the extent that his epistemology, intent on establishing validity, describes the genesis of scientistic reason in a highly adequate manner. What to him, as a remarkable consequence of scientistic reification, seems to be the strength of subjective form which constitutes reality is, in truth, the summa of the historical process in which subjectivity—liberating itself from nature and thus objectivating itself—emerged as the total master of nature, forgot the relationship of domination and, thus blinded, re‑interpreted this relationship as the creation of that ruled by the ruler. Genesis and validity must certainly be critically distinguished in the individual cognitive acts and disciplines. But in the realm of so‑called constitutional problems they are inseparably united, no matter how much this may be repugnant to discursive logic. Since scientistic truth desires to be the whole truth it is not the whole truth. It is governed by the same ratio which would never have been formed other than through science. It is capable of criticism of its own concept and in sociology can characterize in concrete terms what escapes science—society.

Both Tübingen symposiasts were in agreement in their emphasis upon the concept of criticism. [22] Following a remark by Peter Ludz, Dahrendorf pointed out that the concept had been used equivocally. For Popper it signifies, without any concrete determinacy, a 'pure mechanism of the temporary corroboration of the general statements of science', for Adorno 'the development of [22/23] the contradictions of reality through knowledge of them'; nevertheless, I had already laid bare this equivocation. [23] But it is not a mere contamination of various meanings in the same word, rather it is concretely grounded. If one accepts Popper's purely cognitive or, possibly, 'subjective' concept of criticism, which is to apply only to the unanimity of knowledge and not to the legitimation of the reality recognized, then thought cannot leave it at that. For here and there critical reason is similar. It is not the case that two 'capacities' are in operation. The identity of the word is no accident. Cognitive criticism, of knowledge and especially of theorems, necessarily also examines whether the objects of knowledge are what they claim to be according to their own concept. Otherwise it would be formalistic. Immanent criticism is never solely purely logical but always concrete as well—the confrontation of concept and reality. It is for criticism to seek out the truth which the concepts, judgments and theorems themselves desire to name and it does not exhaust itself in the hermetic consistency of formation of thought. It is in a largely irrational society that the scientifically stipulated primacy of logic is at issue. Material concretion, which no knowledge—not even purely logical procedure—can entirely dismiss, demands that immanent critique, in so far as it is directed towards what is intended by scientific statements and not towards 'statements in themselves', does not generally proceed in an argumentative manner but rather demands that it investigate whether this is the case. Otherwise, disputation falls prey to the narrowness which can often be observed in ingenuity. The notion of argument is not as self‑evident as Popper believes but requires critical analysis. This was once expressed in the phenomenological slogan, 'back to the things themselves'. Argumentation becomes questionable as soon as it assumes discursive logic to be opposed to content. In his Science of Logic, Hegel did not argue in a traditional manner and in the introduction to the Phenomenology of Mind he demanded ‘pure reflection’. On the other hand, Popper, who sees the objectivity of science in the objectivity of the critical method, elucidates it with the statement 'that the main instrument of [23/24] logical criticism—the logical contradiction—is objective' [24] This certainly does not raise an exclusive claim for formal logic such as that criticism only possesses its organon in the latter, but such a claim is at least suggested. Albert, following Popper, can hardly interpret criticism differently. [25] He certainly permits the type of 'investigations of such factual connections as Habermas himself mentions' [26] but he wishes to keep them and the logical connections. The unity of both types of criticism, which indicates their concepts, is conjured away through a conceptual order. But if logical contradictions appear in social scientific statements, such as the relevant contradiction that the same social system unleashes and leashes the forces of production, then theoretical analysis is able to reduce such logical inconsistencies to structural moments of society. It must not eliminate them as mere maladjustments of scientific thought since, in any case, they can only be removed through a change in reality itself. Even if it were possible to translate such contradictions into merely semantic contradictions, that is, to demonstrate that each contradictory statement refers to something different, their form still expresses the structure of the object more sharply than a procedure which attains scientific satisfaction by turning its back upon what is unsatisfactory in the non‑scientific object of knowledge. Moreover, the possibility of devolving objective contradictions onto semantics may be connected with the fact that Marx, the dialectician, did not possess a completely developed notion of dialectics. He imagined that he was simply 'flirting' with it. Thinking, which teaches itself that part of its own meaning is what, in turn, is not a thought, explodes the logic of non‑contradiction. Its prison has windows. The narrowness of positivism is that it does not take this into account and entrenches itself in ontology as if in a last refuge, even if this ontology were simply the wholly formalized, contentless ontology of the deductive connection of statements in themselves.

The critique of the relationships of scientific statements to that to which they refer is, however, inevitably compelled towards a critique of reality. It must rationally decide whether the insufficiencies which it encounters are merely scientific, or whether reality insufficiently  accords with what science, through its concept, expresses about it. The separation between the structures [24/25] of science and reality is not absolute. Nor may the concept of truth be attributed solely to the structures of science. It is no less meaningful to speak of the truth of a societal institution than of of the truth of theorems concerned with it. Legitimately, criticism does not normally imply merely self‑criticism—which is what it actually amounts to for Popper—but also criticism of reality. In this respect, Habermas' reply to Albert has its pathos. [27] The concept of society, which is specifically bourgeois and anti-feudal, implies the notion of an association of free and independent human subjects for the sake of the  possibility of a better life and, consequently, the critique of natural societal relations. The hardening of bourgeois society into something impenetrably and inevitably natural is its immanent regression. Something of the opposing intention was expressed in the social contract theories. No matter how little these theories were historically correct, they penetratingly remind society of the concept of the unity of individuals, whose conscious ultimately postulates their reason, freedom and equality. In a grand manner, the unity of the critique of scientific and meta‑scientific sense is revealed in the work of Marx. It is called the critique of political economy since it attempts to derive the whole that is to be criticized in terms of its right to existence from exchange, commodity form and its immanent 'logical' contradictory nature. The assertion of the equivalence of what is exchanged, the basis of all exchange, is repudiated by its consequences. As the principle of exchange, by virtue of its immanent dynamics, extends to the living labours of human beings it changes compulsively into objective inequality, namely that of social classes. Forcibly stated, the contradiction is that exchange takes place justly and unjustly. Logical critique and the emphatically practical critique that society must be changed simply to prevent a relapse into barbarism are moments of the same movement of the concept. Marx's procedure testifies to the fact that even such an analysis cannot simply ignore the separation of what has been compounded, namely of society and politics. He both criticized and respected the separation. The same person who, in his youth wrote the 'Theses on Feuerbach', remained throughout his life a theoretical political economist. The Popperian concept of criticism inhibits logic by restricting it to scientific statements [25/26] without regard for the logicity of its substratum which it requires in order to be true to its own meaning. Popper's 'critical rationalism' has something pre-Kantian about it; in terms of formal logic, this is at the expense of its content. Sociological constructs, however, which contented themselves with their logical freedom from contradiction, could not withstand concrete reflection. They could not withstand the reflection of a thoroughly functional society—though one which perpetuates itself solely through the harshness of relentless repression ad calendas Graecas—because that society is inconsistent; because the constraint under which it keeps itself and its members alive does not reproduce their life in a form which would be possible given the state of the rationality of means, as is specifically presupposed by integral bureaucratic domination. Endless terror can also function, but functioning as an end in itself, separated from why it functions, is no less a contradiction than any logical contradiction, and a science which fell silent before it would be irrational. Critique does not merely imply the decision as to whether suggested hypotheses can be demonstrated as true or false; it moves transparently over to the object. If theorems are full of contradictions then by modifying Lichtenberg's statement one might say that they are not always to blame. The dialectical contradiction expresses the real antagonisms which do not become visible within the logical‑scientistic system of thought. For positivists, the system, according to the logical‑deductive model, is something worth striving for, something 'positive'. For dialecticians, in real no less than in philosophical terms, it is the core of what has to be criticized. One of the decaying forms of dialectical thought in dialectical materialism is that it reprimands critique of the dominant system. Dialectical theory must increasingly distance itself from the system. Society constantly distances itself from the liberal model which gave it its systematic character, and its cognitive system forfeits the character of an ideal since, in the post‑liberal form of society, its systematic unity as a totality is amalgamated with repression. Today, wherever dialectical thought all too inflexibly adheres to the system, even and precisely in what is criticized, it tends to ignore determinate being and to retreat into illusory notions. It is a merit of positivism that it draws attention to this, if its concept of the system, as merely internal-scientific and classificatory, is not to be enticed to hypostasis. Hypostatized dialectics becomes undialectical and requires correction [26/27] by the fact finding whose interest is realized by empirical social research, which then, in turn, is unjustly hypostatized by the positivistic theory of science. The pre‑given structure which does not merely stem from classification—Durkheim's impenetrable—is essentially negative and is incompatible with its own goal, namely the preservation and satisfaction of mankind. Without such a goal the concept of society, seen in concrete terms, would indeed be what the Viennese positivists used to term devoid of meaning. To this extent, sociology even as a critical theory of society is 'logical'. This compels us to extend the concept of criticism beyond its limitations in Popper's work. The idea of scientific truth cannot be split off from that of a true society. Only such a society would be free from contradiction and lack of contradiction. In a resigned manner, scientism commits such an idea to the mere forms of knowledge alone.

By stressing its societal neutrality, scientism defends itself against the critique of the object and replaces it with the critique merely of logical inconsistencies. Both Albert and Popper seem to bear in mind the problematic of such a restriction of critical reason or, as Habermas expressed it, of the fact that scientific asceticism encourages the decisionism of ends or that irrationalism inherent even in Weber's theory of science. Popper concedes that 'protocol sentences are not inviolable' and that this 'represents, in [his] opinion, a notable advance'. [28] His concession that universal law‑like hypotheses could not be meaningfully regarded as verifiable, and that this even applies to protocol sentences, [29] indeed furthers the concept of criticism in a productive manner. Whether intentionally or not, it has taken into account that the referent of so‑called sociological protocol statements, namely simple observations, are preformed through society which, in turn, cannot be reduced to protocol statements. But if one replaces the traditional positivist postulate of verification by the postulate of 'the capacity for confirmation' then positivism forfeits its intention. All knowledge requires confirmation; it must rationally distinguish between true and false without autologically setting up the categories of true and false in accordance with the rules of established science. Popper contrasts his [27/28] 'sociology of knowledge' [Soziologie des Wissens] with that familiar since Mannheim and Scheler [Wissenssoziologie]. He advocates a 'theory of scientific objectivity'. But it does not transcend scientistic subjectivism [30]; rather it can be subsumed under Durkheim's still valid statement that 'Between "I like this" and "a certain number of us like this" there is no essential difference.' [31] Popper elucidates the scientific objectivity which he advocates in the following manner: 'Objectivity can only be explained in terms of social ideas such as competition (both of individual scientists and of various schools); tradition (mainly the critical tradition); social institution (for instance, publication in various competing journals and through various competing publishers; discussion at congresses); the power of the state (its tolerance of free discussion).' [32] The questionable nature of such categories is striking. For instance, in the category of competition there lies the entire competitive mechanism, together with the fatal factor denounced by Marx, namely, that market success has primacy over the qualities of the object, even of intellectual formations. The tradition upon which Popper relies, has apparently developed within the universities into a fetter of productive forces. In Germany a critical tradition is completely lacking—'discussions at congresses' aside—which Popper might hesitate to recognize empirically as an instrument of truth, just as he will not overestimate the actual range of the political 'tolerance of free discussion' in science. His forced innocence with regard to all this breathes the optimism of despair. The a priori negation of an objective structure of society, and its substitution by ordering schemata, eradicates thoughts which turn upon this structure, whilst Popper's enlightening impulse strives after such thoughts. In accordance with its pure form, the denial of social objectivity leaves such thoughts undisturbed. An absolutized logic is ideology. Habermas sums up Popper's position as follows: 'Popper, in opposing a positivist solution to the basis problem, adheres to the view that the observational statements which lend themselves to the falsification of law‑like hypotheses cannot be justified in an empirically compelling manner; instead, it must be decided in each case whether the acceptance of a basic statement [28/29] is sufficiently motivated by experience. In the process of research, all the observers who are involved in attempts at falsifying certain theories must, by means of relevant observational statements, arrive at a provisional consensus which can be refuted at any time. This agreement rests, in the last instance, upon a decision; it can be neither enforced logically nor empirically.' [33] Popper's Tübingen paper corresponds to this where he claims, ‘It is a mistake to assume that the objectivity of a science depends upon tile objectivity of the scientist.’ [34] But in fact this objectivity suffers less under the personal equation which has been made from time immemorial, than from the objective societal pre-formation of the objectivated scientific apparatus. Popper the nominalist can provide no stronger corrective than intersubjectivity within organized science: 'What may be described as scientific objectivity is based solely upon a critical tradition which, despite resistance, often makes it possible to criticise a dominant dogma. To put it another way, the objectivity of science is not a matter of the individual scientist but rather the social result of their mutual criticism, of the friendly‑hostile division of labour among scientists, of their co‑operation and also of their competition.' [35] The belief that very divergent positions, by virtue of the recognized rules of co-operation, will 'get together' and thereby achieve the particular attainable level of objectivity in knowledge, follows the outmoded liberal model of those who gather at a round table in order to work out a compromise. The forms of scientific co-operation contain an infinite amount of societal mediation. Popper in fact calls them a 'social concern' but does not concern himself with their implications. They stretch from the mechanism of selection which controls whether someone is academically co‑opted and receives a call—a mechanism in which conformity with prevailing group opinion is apparently decisive—to the form of communis opinio and its irrationalities. After all sociology, whose topics deal with explosive interests, is also in its own form, not only privately but also in its institutions a complete microcosm of these interests. The classificatory principle in itself has already taken care of this. The scope of concepts which seek to be simply abbreviations of particular existent facts, does not lead beyond their compass. The deeper the approved method [29/30] descends into societal material the more apparent its partisanship becomes. If the sociology of the 'mass media'—the accepted notion purveys the prejudice that by questioning the human subjects, the consumer masses, one must establish what is planned and kept alive in the sphere of production—seeks to ascertain simply the opinions and attitudes of those socially categorized and tested and to elicit 'socially critical' consequences, then the given system, centrally guided and reproducing itself through mass reactions, tacitly becomes its own norm. The affinity of the whole sphere of what Paul F. Lazarsfeld has called administrative research with the goals of administration in general is almost tautological. What is no less evident here is that these goals, if one does not forcibly taboo the concept of the structure of objective domination, according to the needs of the latter, are formed frequently over the heads of individual administrators. Administrative research is the prototype of a social science which is based upon the scientific theory of science and which, in turn, acts as a model for the latter. In societal and concrete terms, both political apathy and the much‑praised scientific neutrality prove to be political facts. Ever since Pareto, positivistic scepticism has come to terms with the specific existing power, even that of Mussolini. Since every social theory is interwoven with real society, every social theory can certainly be misused ideologically or operationalized in a distorted manner. Positivism, however, specifically lends itself, in keeping with the entire nominalist‑sceptical tradition, [36] to ideological abuse by virtue of its material indeterminacy, its classificatory method and, finally, its preference for correctness rather than truth.

The scientific measure of all things, the fact as the fixed and irreducible entity which the human subject is not allowed to undermine, is borrowed from the world—a world, however, that more scientifico still has to be constituted from the facts and from their connection formed according to logical rules. The entity to which scientistic analysis leads, the final subjective phenomenon postulated by a critique of knowledge and one which cannot be further reduced, is in turn the inadequate copy of the objectivity reduced here to the subject. In the spirit of an unswerving claim to objectivity, sociology cannot content itself with the fact, with what is only in appearance most objective. Anti‑idealistically, [30/31] something of idealism's truth content is preserved in it. The equation of subject and object is valid in so far as the subject is an object, initially in the sense emphasized by Habermas that sociological research, for its part, belongs to the objective context which it intends to study. [37] Albert replies, 'Does he [Habermas] wish to declare common sense—or somewhat more sublimely expressed, "the natural hermeneutics of the social life‑world"—to be sacrosanct? If not, then wherein does the specificity of his method lie? To what extent is "the object" (Sache) treated more "in accord with its own significance" than in the usual methods of the empirical sciences?' [38] But dialectical theory in no way inhibits in an artificial‑dogmatic manner, as Hegel once did, the critique of so‑called pre‑scientific consciousness. At the Frankfurt sociology conference in 1968, Dahrendorf addressed the dialecticians ironically with the words: you simply know much more than I do. He doubted the knowledge of antecedent social objectivity since the social in itself is mediated through subjective categories of the intellect. The predominance of the method attacked by the dialecticians was, he claimed, simply the advancing reflection of the intentio recta through which the advance of science is accomplished. But it is epistemological critique—the intentio obliqua—in its results which the dialecticians criticize, Here, however, they annul the prohibitions in which scientism, including the recent development of 'analytical philosophy', has culminated, since these prohibitions are maintained at the expense of knowledge. The concept of the object itself does not, as Albert suspects, revive 'certain prejudices' or even the priority of intellectual 'origin' as opposed to 'achievement'; and incidentally, the achievement of scientism within the field of sociology is not so very impressive. Popper's view, referred to by Albert, according to which theorems 'can be understood as attempts to illuminate the structural characteristics of reality', [39] is not so very far removed from the concept of the object itself. Popper does not deny the philosophical tradition as Reichenbach had done. Criteria such as that of ‘relevance’ [40] or of ‘explanatory power’, [41] [31/32] which he certainly interprets later in a sense closer to the natural-scientific model, would have little meaning if, in spite of everything, there were not an implicit underlying concept of society which several positivists—for instance, König and Schelsky in Germany—would prefer to abolish. The mentality which refuses to admit an objective social structure draws back from the object which it taboos. In caricaturing their opponents as visionary metaphysicians the followers of scientism become unrealistic. Operationally ideal techniques inevitably withdraw from the situations in which what is to be investigated is located. In particular, this could be demonstrated in the social‑psychological experiment but it could also be demonstrated in the alleged improvements in scale construction. Objectivity, which actually should be served by the finishing touches of methodology and the avoidance of sources of error, becomes something secondary, something graciously dragged along by the operational ideal. What is central becomes peripheral. If the methodological will to make problems unambiguously determinable and 'falsifiable' predominates in an unreflected manner, then science is reduced to alternatives, which only emerged through the elimination of 'variables', that is, by abstracting and thereby changing the object. Methodological empiricism works according to this scheme in the opposite direction to experience.

In sociology, interpretation acquires its force both from the fact that without reference to totality—to the real total system, untranslatable into any solid immediacy—nothing societal can be conceptualized, and from the fact that it can, however, only be recognized in the extent to which it is apprehended in the factual and the individual. It is the societal physiognomy of appearance. The primary meaning of 'interpret' is to perceive something in the features of totality's social givenness. The idea of the 'anticipation' of totality, which perhaps a very liberal positivism would be prepared to accept, is insufficient. Recalling Kant, it envisages totality as something in fact indefinitely relinquished and postponed, but something in principle to be fulfilled through the given, without regard for the qualitative gap between essence and appearance in society. Physiognomy does better justice to it since it realizes totality in its dual relationship to the facts which it deciphers—a totality which 'is', and does not represent a mere synthesis of logical operations. The facts are not identical with [32/33] totality but the latter does not exist beyond the facts. Knowledge of society which does not commence with the physionomic view is poverty‑stricken. In this view appearance is categorically suspect. But knowledge cannot adhere to this. By developing mediations of the apparent and of what expresses itself in these mediations, interpretation occasionally differentiates and corrects itself in a radical manner. As distinct from what in fact is a pre-scientific, dull registration, knowledge worthy of human cognizance begins by sharpening the sense for what is illuminated in every social phenomenon. This sense, if anything, ought to be defined as the organon of scientific experience. Established sociology banishes this sense—hence its sterility. Only if this sense is first developed can it be disciplined. Its discipline requires both increased exactness of empirical observation and the force of theory which inspires interpretation and transforms itself in it. Several followers of scientism may generously accept this, but the divergence still remains. The divergence is one of conceptions. Positivism regards sociology as one science among others and, since Comte, has considered that the proven methods of older science, in particular of natural science, can be transferred to sociology. The actual pseudos is concealed here. For sociology has a dual character. In it, the subject of all knowledge—society, the bearer of logical generality—is at the same time the object. Society is subjective because it refers back to the human beings who create it, and its organizational principles too refer back to subjective consciousness and its most general form of abstraction—logic, something essentially subjective. Society is objective because, on account of its underlying structure, it cannot perceive its own subjectivity, because it does not possess a total subject and through its organization it thwarts the installation of such a subject. But such a dual character modifies the relationship of social‑scientific knowledge with its object; positivism does not take this into account. It simply treats society, potentially the self‑determining subject, as if it were an object, and could be determined from outside. It literally objectivates what, for its part, causes objectivation and what can provide an explanation for objectivation. Such a substitution of society as object for society as subject constitutes the reified consciousness of sociology. It is not recognized that by recourse to the subject as something estranged from itself and objectively confronting the researcher, the subject implied, in other words the very object of sociology, [33/34] becomes another. Certainly the change through the orientation of knowledge possesses its fundamentum in re. The development within society, moves, for its part, towards reification; this provides a reified consciousness of society with its adaequatio. But truth demands that this quid pro quo also be included. Society as subject and society as object are the same and yet not the same. The objectivating acts of science eliminate that in society by means of which it is not only an object, and the shadow of this falls upon all scientistic objectivity. For a doctrine whose supreme norm is the lack of contradiction it is most difficult to perceive this. Here lies the innermost difference between a critical theory of society and what is commonly known as sociology. Despite all the experience of reification, and in the very expression of this experience, critical theory is orientated towards the idea of society as subject, whilst sociology accepts reification, repeats it in its methods and thereby loses the perspective in which society and its law would first reveal themselves. This relates back to the sociological claim to domination raised by Comte; a claim which today is more or less openly reproduced in the notion that, since it is possible for sociology to control successfully particular societal situations and fields, it can extend its control to the whole. If such a transfer were somehow possible, if it did not crassly fail to recognize the power relations through whose givenness sociology is constituted, then the scientifically totally controlled society would remain an object—that of science—and as unemancipated as ever. Even in the rationality of a scientific management of the whole society which had apparently thrown off its shackles, domination would survive. Even against their will, the domination of the scientists would amalgamate with the interests of the powerful cliques. A technocracy of sociologists would retain an elitist character. On the other hand, one of the moments which must remain common to philosophy and sociology, and which must rank highly if the two are not to decline—the latter to a lack of content, the former to a lack of concepts—is that inherent to both is something not wholly transformable into science. In both nothing is meant in a completely literal manner, neither statement of fact nor pure validity. This unliteralness—according to Nietzsche a part of a game—paraphrases the concept of interpretation which interprets being as non‑being. What is not quite literal testifies to the tense non-identity of essence and appearance. Emphatic knowledge does not lapse into irrationalism [34/35] if it does not absolutely renounce art. The scientistic adult mockery of 'mind music' simply drowns the creaking of the cupboard drawers in which the questionnaires are deposited—the sound of the enterprise of pure literalness. It is associated, with the trusty objection to the solipsism of self-satisfying thought about society which neither respects the latter's actual condition nor fulfils a useful function in it. Nevertheless there are many indications that theoretically trained students who have a flair for reality and what holds it together, are more capable, even in reality, of reasonably fulfilling their allotted tasks than recruited specialists for whom method is paramount. The catchword 'solipsism', however, turns the state of affairs upon its head. In that the individual, to which even Max Weber believed he had to have recourse in his definition of social action, does not count as a substratum for dialectics, the latter does not content itself with a subjective concept of reason. But all solipsism rests upon the individual as a substratum. All this has been explicated in detail in the philosophical publications of the Frankfurt School. The illusion of solipsism is furthered by the fact that apparently in the present situation the subjectivistic spell is only penetrated by what remains unenthusiastic about subjective sociology's general pleasure in communication. Recently something of this has been manifested in rebellious public opinion which feels that it can believe only what, through the form of 'communication', does not leer at consumers of culture who are about to have something foisted upon them.

What jars like discordant music in the positivists' ears is that which is imperfectly present in objective circumstances and requires linguistic form. The closer the latter follows the objective circumstances, the more it surpasses mere signification and comes to resemble expression. What was hitherto unfruitful in the controversy surrounding positivism probably stems from the fact that dialectical knowledge was taken all too literally by its opponents. Literalness and precision are not the same but rather the two diverge. Without the broken, the inauthentic there can be no knowledge which might be more than an ordering repetition. That, thereby, the idea of truth is nevertheless not sacrificed, as it tends to be in the most consistent representatives of positivism, expresses an essential contradiction: knowledge is, and by no means per accidens, exaggeration. For just as little as something particular is 'true' but rather by virtue of its mediatedness is [35/36] always its own other, so the whole is no less true. It is an expression of its own negativity that it remains unreconciled with the particular. Truth is the articulation of this relationship. In ancient times leading philosophers still knew it: Plato's philosophy, which pre‑critically raises the extreme claim to truth, continually sabotages this claim in its presentational form of the 'aporetic' dialogues as a literally fulfilled claim. Speculations which related Socratic irony to this would not be out of place. The cardinal sin of German idealism which today takes its revenge upon it through positivistic critique, consisted in deceiving itself and its followers about such disjointedness by means of the subjective pathos of fully attained identity with the object in absolute knowledge. Thereby German idealism transferred itself to the showplace of the statements of fact and of validity's terre à terre, upon which it is then inevitably defeated by a science which can demonstrate that idealism does not meet its desiderata. The interpretative method becomes weak at the moment when, terrorized by the progress of individual sciences, it professes to be as good a science as the others. There is no more stringent objection to Hegel than that already uttered by Kierkegaard, namely, that he took his philosophy literally. But interpretation is by no means arbitrary. History mediates between the phenomenon and its content which requires interpretation. The essential which appears in the phenomenon is that whereby it became what it is, what was silenced in it and what, in painful stultification, releases that which yet becomes. The orientation of physiognomy is directed towards what is silenced, the second level of phenomena. One should not assume that Habermas' phrase 'the natural hermeneutics of the social life‑world', [42] which Albert censures, applies to the first level of phenomena, but rather it is the expression which emergent social processes receive in what has emerged. Nor should interpretation be absolutized according to the usage of phenomenological invariance. It remains enmeshed in the total process of knowledge. According to Habermas, 'the dependence of these ideas and interpretations upon the interests of an objective configuration of societal reproduction makes it impossible to remain at the level of subjective meaning‑comprehending hermeneutics; an objective meaning‑comprehending theory must also account for that moment of reification which the objectifying [36/37] procedures exclusively have in mind'. [43] Sociology is only periphally concerned with the ends‑means‑relation subjectively carried out by actors. It is more concerned with the laws realized through and against such intentions. Interpretation is the opposite of the subjective meaning endowment on the part of the knowing subject or of the social actor. The concept of such meaning endowment leads to an affirmative fallacy that the social process and social order are reconciled with the subject and justified as something intelligible by the subject or belonging to the subject. A dialectical concept of meaning would not be a correlate of Weber's meaningful understanding but rather the societal essence which shapes appearances, appears in them and conceals itself in them. It is not a general law, understood in the usually scientistic sense, which determines the phenomena. Its model would be Marx's law of crisis—even if it has become so obscured as to be unrecognizable—which was deduced from the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. Its modifications, for their part, should also be derived from it. The efforts to ward off or postpone the system immanent tendency are already prescribed within the system. It is by no means certain that this is possible indefinitely or whether such efforts enact the law of crisis against their own will. The writing on the wall suggests a slow inflationary collapse.

The employment of categories such as totality and essence strengthens the prejudice that the dialecticians concern themselves uncommittedly with the global, whilst the positivists deal with solid details and have purged the facts of all doubtful conceptual trappings. One should oppose the scientistic habit of stigmatizing dialectics as theology, which has crept in through the back door, with the difference between society's systematic nature and so‑called total thought. Society is a system in the sense of a synthesis of an atomized plurality, in the sense of a real yet abstract assemblage of what is in no way immediately or 'organically' united. The exchange relationship largely endows the system with a mechanical character. It is objectively forced onto its elements, as implied by the concept of an organism—the model which resembles a celestial teleology through which each organ would receive its function in the whole and would derive its meaning from the latter. The context which perpetuates life simultaneously destroys it, and consequently already possesses in [37/38] itself the lethal impulse towards which its dynamic is propelled. In its critique of total and organicist ideology, dialectics lacks none of positivism's incisiveness. Similarly, the concept of societal totality is not ontologized, and cannot be made into a primary thing‑in‑itself. Positivists who ascribe this to dialectical theory, as Scheuch did recently, simply misunderstand it. The concept of a primary thing-in‑itself is just as little generally accepted by dialectical theory as by the positivists. The telos of the dialectical view of society runs contrary to the global view. Despite reflection upon totality, dialectics does not proceed from above but rather it attempts to overcome theoretically the antinomic relationship between the general and the particular by means of its procedure. The followers of scientism suspect that the dialecticians are megalomaniacs for, instead of striding through the finite in all direction in a Gothean masculine manner and fulfilling the requirement of the day within the attainable, they enjoy themselves in the uncommitted infinite. Yet as a mediation of all social facts totality is not infinite. By virtue of its very systematic character it is closed and finite, despite its elusive nature. Even if the great metaphysical categories were a projection of inner-worldly societal experience onto the spirit which was itself socially derived, it remains true that, once retrieved into society, they do not retain the illusion of the absolute which the projections created in them. No social knowledge can profess to be master of the unconditioned. Nevertheless, its critique of philosophy does not imply that the latter is submerged in this knowledge without a trace. Consciousness which retreats to the societal domain also liberates, through its self‑reflection, that element in philosophy which does not simply dissolve in society. But if it is argued that the societal concept of system, as the concept of something objective, secularizes metaphysic's concept of system, then this argument is true but applies to everything and therefore to nothing. It would be no less justifiable to criticize positivism on the grounds that its concept of secure certainty is a secularization of celestial truth. The accusation of crypto‑theology is incomplete. The metaphysical systems apologetically projected the constraining character of society onto being. Anyone who desires to extricate himself from the system through thought, must translate it from idealistic philosophy into the societal reality from which it was abstracted. Thereby, the concept of totality, preserved by the followers of scientism such as Popper in the [38/39] notion of the deductive system, is confronted with enlightenment. What is untrue but also what is true in it can be determined.

The accusation of megalomania is no less unjust in concrete terms. Hegel's logic knew totality as what it is in its societal form: not as anything preformed before the singular or, in Hegel's language, preformed before the moments, but rather inseparable from the latter and their motion. The individually concrete has more weight in the dialectical conception than in the scientistic conception which fetishizes it epistemologically and, in practical terms, treats it as raw material or as an example. The dialectical view of society is closer to micrology than is the positivistic view which in abstracto certainly ascribes to the singular entity primacy over its concept but, in its method, skims over it in that timeless haste which is realized in computers. Since the individual phenomenon conceals in itself the whole society, micrology and mediation through totality act as a counterpoint to one another. It was the intention of a contribution to the theory of social conflict today [44] to elucidate this; the same point was central to the earlier controversy with Benjamin concerning the dialectical interpretation of societal phenomena. [45] Benjamin's social physiognomy was criticized for being too immediate, for lacking reflection upon the total societal mediation. He suspected the latter of being idealistic, but without it the materialistic construction of social phenomena would lag behind theory. The firmly established nominalism, which relegates the concept to the status of an illusion or an abbreviation, and represents the facts as something concept‑free or indeterminate in an emphatic sense, thereby becomes necessarily abstract. Abstraction is the indiscrete incision between the general and the particular. It is not the apprehension of the general as the determination of the particular in itself. In as far as abstraction can be attributed to the dialectical method, as opposed to the sociographic description of individual findings, it is dictated by the object, by the constancy of a society which actually does not tolerate anything qualitatively different—a society which drearily repeats itself in the details. Nevertheless, the individual phenomena expressing the general are far more substantial than they would be if they were merely its logical representatives. The dialectical formulation of social laws as historically concrete laws accords [39/40] with the emphasis on the individual, an emphasis which, for the sake of its immanent generality it does not sacrifice to comparative generality. The dialectical determinacy of the individual as something simultaneous particular and general alters the societal concept of law. It no longer possesses the form 'if‑then' but rather 'since‑must'. In principle, it is only valid under the precondition of lack of freedom, since, inherent in the individual moments, is already a determinate law‑likeness which follows from the specific social structure, and is not merely a product of the scientific synthesis of individual moments. It is in this way that Habermas' remarks on the historical laws of movement should be interpreted—in the context of the objective—immanent determinacy of the individual himself. [46] Dialectical theory refuses to contrast sharply historical and societal knowledge as a knowledge of the individual with knowledge of laws since what is supposed to be merely individual—individuation is a societal category—embodies within itself a particular and a general. Even the necessary distinction between the two possesses the character of a false abstraction. Models of the process of the general and the particular the development tendencies within society, such as those leading to concentration, over‑accumulation and crisis. Empirical sociology realized long ago what it forfeited in specific content through a statistical generalization. Something decisive about the general is frequently apprehended in the detail, and escaped mere generalization; hence, the fundamental complementation of statistical inquiries through case studies. The goal of even quantitative social methods would be qualitative insight; quantification is not an end in itself but a means towards it. Statisticians are more inclined to recognize this than is the current logic of the social sciences. The behaviour of dialectical thought towards the singular can perhaps best be underlined in contrast with one of Wittgenstein's formulations quoted by Wellmer: 'The simplest kind of proposition, an elementary proposition, asserts the existence of a state of affairs.' [47] The apparently self-evident view that the logical analysis of statements leads to elementary statements is anything but self‑evident. Even Wittgenstein still repeats the dogma of Descartes' Discours de la Méthode, namely, that the most simple—whatever one could imagine this [40/41] to be—is 'more true' than what is composed, and therefore that the reduction of the more complicated to the simple a priori deserves greater merit. In fact, for the followers of scientism, simplicity is a value criterion of social scientific knowledge. This is exemplified in the fifth thesis of Popper's Tubingen paper. [48] Through its association with honesty, simplicity becomes a scientific virtue. The overtone is unmistakable here, namely that the complicated arises from the confusion or the pomposity of the observer. But the objects decide objectively whether social theorems should be simple or complex.

Popper's statement that 'What really exists are problems and solutions, and scientific traditions' [49] depends upon his own insight which immediately precedes this one, that a so‑called scientific discipline is a conglomeration of problems and attempts at solution. The selection of tacitly circumscribed problems as the scientistic 'sole reality' installs simplification as a norm. Science is to concern itself solely with determinable questions. The material seldom poses these questions in such a concise form. In the same spirit, Popper defines the method of the social sciences 'like that of the natural sciences'. It 'consists in trying out tentative solutions to certain problems: the problems from which our investigations start, and those which turn up during the investigation. Solutions are proposed and criticized. If a proposed solution is not open to pertinent criticism, then it is excluded as unscientific for this reason, although perhaps only temporarily.' [50] The concept of a problem employed here is hardly less atomistic than Wittgenstein's criterion of truth. It is postulated that everything with which sociology legitimately ought to concern itself can be dissected into individual problems. If one interprets Popper's thesis in a strict sense then, despite its common sense which recommends it at a first glance, it becomes an obstructive censure upon scientific thought. Marx did not suggest the 'solution of a problem'—in the very concept of suggestion, the fiction of consensus as a guarantor of truth creeps in. Does this mean that Das Kapital is therefore not a contribution to the social sciences? In the context of society, the so‑called solution of each problem presupposes this context. The panacea of trial [41/42] and error exists at the expense of moments, after whose removal the problems are licked into shape ad usum scientiae and possibly become pseudo‑problems. Theory has to bear in mind that the connections, which disappear through the Cartesian dissection of the world into individual problems, must be mediated with the facts. Even if an attempted solution is not immediately amenable to the 'pertinent criticism' stipulated by Popper, that is, if it is not amenable to refutation, the problem can nevertheless be central with regard to the object. Whether or not capitalist society will be impelled towards its collapse, as Marx asserted, through its own dynamic is a reasonable question, as long as questioning is not manipulated; it is one of the most important questions with which the social sciences ought to concern themselves. As soon as they deal with the concept of the problem, even the most modest and therefore the most convincing theses of social-scientific scientism gloss over what are actually the most difficult problems. Concepts such as that of hypothesis and the associated concept of testability cannot be blithely transferred from the natural to the social science. This does not imply approval of the cultural‑scientific ideology that the superior dignity of man will not tolerate quantification. The society based on domination has not simply robbed itself and human beings—its compulsory members—of such a dignity, but rather it has never permitted them to become the emancipated beings who, in Kant's theory, have a right to dignity. What befalls them nowadays, as earlier in the form of an extended natural history, is certainly not above the law of large numbers, which astonishingly prevails in the analysis of elections. But the context in itself has a different, or at least a more recognizable, form than it did in the older natural science from which the models of scientistic sociology are derived. As a relationship between human beings, this context is just as much founded in them as it comprehends and constitutes them. Societal laws are incommensurable with the concept of hypothesis. The Babylonian confusion between positivists and critical theorists emerges when the former, although professing tolerance, rob theory, by its transformation into hypotheses, of that moment of independence which endows hypotheses with the objective hegemony of social laws. Moreover, social facts are not as predictable as natural‑scientific facts within their relatively homogeneous continua—a point to which Horkheimer first drew attention. Included in the objective law‑like nature of [42/43] society is its contradictory character, and ultimately its irrationality. It is the task of social theory to reflect upon this too and, if possible, to reveal its origins, but not to argue it away through an overzealous adaptation to the ideal of prognoses which must either be corroborated or refuted.

Similarly, the concept—also borrowed from the natural sciences—of the general, quasi‑democratic, empathetic reconstructability [Nachvollziehbarkeit] of cognitive operations and insights is by no means as axiomatic in the social sciences as it pretends to be. It ignores the power of the necessarily false consciousness which society imposes upon its members—a consciousness which in turn must be critically penetrated. It is embodied in the aspiring type of social science research assistant as the contemporary form of the world spirit. Anyone who has grown up under the influence of the culture industry so entirely that it has become his second nature is initially hardly able and inclined to internalize insights which apply to the culture industry's functions and role in the social structure. Like a reflex action he will fend off such insights preferably, by referring to the scientistic guide‑line of general empathetic reconstructability. It took thirty years for the critical theory of the culture industry to prevail. Even today numerous instances and agencies attempt to stifle it since it is harmful to business. The knowledge of objective societal invariant regularities and, in particular, its uncompromisingly pure, undiluted representation by no means measures itself against the consensus omnium. Opposition to the repressive total tendency can be reserved for small minorities who even have to suffer being castigated for an elitist stance. Empathetic reconstructability is a potential possessed by mankind and does not exist here and now under existing conditions. It is certainly the case that what one person can understand can potentially be understood by another, for in the interpreter [der Verstehende] that whole is operative through which generality is also posited. Yet in order to realize this possibility, it is not sufficient to appeal to the intellect of others as they are, nor even to education. Probably a change in the whole would be required—that whole which today, in terms of its own law, deforms rather than develops awareness. The postulate of simplicity harmonizes with such a repressive disposition. Since it is incapable of any mental operations other than those which, for all their perfection, proceed mechanically, this disposition is even [43/44] proud of its intellectual honesty. Involuntarily it denies the complicated nature of precisely those social relations which are indicated by such currently overworked terms as alienation, reification, functionality and structure. The logical method of reduction to elements, from which the social is constructed, virtually eliminates objective contradictions. A secret agreement exists between the praise for simple life and the anti‑intellectual preference for the simple as what is attainable by thought. This tendency prescribes simplicity for thought. Social scientific knowledge, however, which expresses the complex nature of the process of production and distribution, is apparently more fruitful than the dissection into separate elements of production by means of surveys on factories, individual companies, individual workers and the like. It is also more fruitful than reduction to the general concept of such elements which, for their part, only attain their importance in the more complex structural context. In order to know what a worker is one must know what capitalist society is; conversely, the latter is surely no 'more elementary' than are the workers. If Wittgenstein justifies his method by the statement: 'Objects form the substance of the world. Therefore they cannot be compound', [51] then in so doing he follows, with the positivist's naïvety, the dogmatic rationalism of the seventeenth century. Scientism certainly regards the res—the individual objects—as the sole true existent, but thereby dispossesses them of all their determinations, as mere conceptual superstructure, to such an extent that this solely real entity becomes wholly nugatory for scientism and then, in fact, merely serves as an illustration for what, in nominalistic belief, is a similarly nugatory generality.

The positivist critics of dialectics rightly demand models at least of sociological methods which, although they are not tailored to empirical rules, prove to be meaningful. Here however the empiricist's so‑called 'meaning criterion' would have to be altered. The index verborum prohibitorum demanded by Otto Neurath in the name of the Vienna Circle would then be abolished. One might name as a model something which certainly did not emerge as science, namely, the critique of language, which Karl Kraus, who strongly influenced Wittgenstein, practised for decades in Die Fackel. His critique, often directed at journalistic [44/45] corruptions of grammar, was immanently inscribed. From the outset, however, aesthetic criticism possessed a social dimension. For Kraus linguistic impoverishment was the herald of real impoverishment. Already in the First World War he witnessed the realization of the malformations and rhetoric whose muted cry he had heard long before. This process is the prototype of a non‑verbal one. The worldly‑wise Kraus knew that language, no matter how much it might be a constituens of experience, did not simply create reality. Through its absolutization, language analysis became for Kraus both a distorted mirror of real tendencies and a medium in which his critique of capitalism was concretized into a second immediacy. The linguistic abominations which he created, and whose disproportion to the real abominations is most readily emphasized by those who wish to gloss over the real ones, are excretions of the societal processes which appear archetypically in words before they abruptly destroy the supposedly normal life of bourgeois society in which, beyond current scientific observation, they matured almost imperceptibly. Consequently, the physiognomy of language developed by Kraus contains a greater penetrative power over society than do largely empirical sociological findings since it records seismographically the monster which science, out of a sense of pure objectivity, narrow‑mindedly refuses to deal with. The figures of speech cited and pilloried by Kraus parody and surpass what research only tolerates under the sloppy heading of 'juicy quotes'. Kraus' non‑science or anti‑science puts science to shame. Sociology may contribute mediations which Kraus would in fact scorn as mitigations of his diagnoses that still inevitably lag behind reality. Even during his lifetime, the Viennese socialist workers' newspaper was aware of social conditions which made Viennese journalism into what Kraus recognized it to be. In History and Class Consciousness Lukács defined the social type of the journalist as the dialectical extreme of reification. In this extreme case, the commodity character conceals what is simply contrary to the essence of commodities and devours it; namely, the primary spontaneous capacity for reaction on the part of human subjects, which sells itself on the market. Kraus' physiognomy of language would not have had such a profound effect upon science and upon the philosophy of history without the truth content of the underlying experiences which are dismissed by the clique with a subordinate's arrogance [45/46] as mere art. [52] The analyses micrologically attained by Kraus, are by no means so 'unconnected' with science as would be acceptable to the latter. More specifically, his language‑analytical theses on the mentality of the commercial traveller—of the future office worker—must, as a neo‑barbaric norm, concur with those aspects of Weber's theory of the dawning of bureaucratic domination which are relevant to the sociology of education. In addition, Kraus' analyses also concur with the decline of education explained by Weber's theory. The strict relation of Kraus' analyses to language and their objectivity lead them beyond the promptly and automatically recorded fortuitousness of merely subjective forms of reaction. The analyses extrapolate from the individual phenomena a whole which comparative generalization cannot master, and which is co‑experienced as pre‑existent in the approach adopted in Kraus' analysis. His work may not be scientific but a discipline which lay claim to scientific status would have to emulate it. Freud's theory in the phase of its diffusion, was ostracized by Kraus. Nevertheless, and despite Freud's own positivistic mentality, his theory ran as counter to established science as Kraus' own work. Since it was developed on the basis of a relatively small number of individual cases, according to the scientific system of rules, it would be judged to be a false generalization from the first to the last statement. [46/47] But without its productivity for the understanding of social modes of behaviour and, in particular, the understanding of the 'cement' of society, one could not imagine what might possibly be registered as actual progress of sociology over recent decades. Freud's theory which, for reasons of a complex nature, prompted established science to shrug its shoulders—and psychiatry has still not grown out of this habit—provided intra‑scientifically practicable hypotheses for the explanation of what otherwise cannot be explained; namely, that the overwhelming majority of human beings tolerate relations of domination, identify themselves with them and are motivated towards irrational attitudes by them—attitudes whose contradiction with the simplest interests of their self‑preservation is obvious. But one must doubt whether the transformation of psycho‑analysis into hypotheses does justice to its specific type of knowledge. Its utilization in survey procedures takes place at the expense of the immersion in detail to which it owes its wealth of new societal knowledge, even if it placed its hopes in general law‑like regularities in accordance with the model of traditional theory.

Albert seems to be well disposed towards such models. [53] But what is actually at issue in the controversy is unfortunately disguised in his concept of testability in principle. If a sociological theorist repeatedly observes on the posters of New York subway stations that one of the dazzling white teeth of an advertising beauty is blacked out then he will infer, for example, that the glamour of the culture industry, as a mere substitute satisfaction through which the spectator pre‑consciously feels himself to be deceived, simultaneously arouses aggression in the latter. In terms of the epistemological principle Freud constructed his theorems in a similar manner. It is very difficult to test such extrapolations empirically, unless one were to light upon particularly ingenious experiments. Such observations can, however, crystallize into social‑psychological thought structures which, in a different context and condensed into 'items', lend themselves to questionnaire and clinical methods. But if, on the other hand, the positivists insist that the dialecticians, unlike themselves, are unable to cite any binding rules of behaviour for sociological knowledge and that they therefore defend the aperçu, then this postulate presupposes the strict separation of [47/48] reality and method which is attacked by dialectics. Anyone who wishes to follow the structure of his object and conceptualizes it as possessing motion in itself does not have at his disposal a method independent of the object.

As a counterpart to the general positivist thesis of the verifiability of meaning a valuable model will be cited here from the author's own work in the sociology of music. This is not because the author overestimates the status of the work, but rather since a sociologist naturally becomes aware of the interdependence of material and methodological motives most readily in his own studies. In the 1936 article 'Über Jazz', published in the Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung and reprinted in Moments musicaux, the concept of a 'jazz subject' was employed, an ego‑imago which occurs quite generally in this type of music. Jazz was regarded as a totally symbolic process in which this jazz subject, confronted by the collective demands represented by the basic rhythm, falters, stumbles and 'drops out' but, while 'dropping out', reveals himself in a kind of ritual to be similar to all the other helpless subjects and is integrated into the collective at the price of his self-cancellation. One can neither put one's finger on the jazz subject in protocol statements, nor reduce the symbolism of the process to sense data in a completely stringent manner. Nevertheless, the construction which interprets the smooth idiom of jazz, stereotypes of which await such deciphering like a secret code, is hardly devoid of meaning. This construction should promote the investigation of the interiority of the jazz phenomenon, namely of what it generally signifies in societal terms, more than do surveys of the views of various population—or age—groups on jazz, even if the latter were based upon solid protocol statements such as the original comments of those randomly sampled and interviewed. Presumably one could only decide whether the juxtaposition of positions and criteria was quite irreconcilable after a concentrated attempt had been made to realize theorems of this type in empirical research projects. Up till now, this has hardly interested social research, although the possible gain in cogent insight can scarcely be denied. Without indulging in a shoddy compromise one can readily detect possible meaning criteria for such interpretations. This is exemplified in extrapolations from the technological analysis of a phenomenon of mass culture—this is the point of the theory of the jazz subject—or the capacity to combine [48/49] theorems with other phenomena closer to the usual criteria: phenomena such as the eccentric clown and certain older types of film. In any case, what is implied by such a thesis as that of the jazz subject, in his capacity as the latent embodiment of this type of popular music, is intelligible even if it is neither verified nor falsified by the reactions of the jazz listeners questioned. Subjective reactions by no means need to coincide with the determinable content of cultural phenomena which provoke a reaction. The moments which motivate the ideal construction of a jazz subject must be adduced. No matter how inadequately, this was attempted in the above‑mentioned article on jazz. As an evident meaning criterium there emerges the question whether, and to what extent, a theorem illuminates questions which would otherwise remain obscure and whether, through this theorem, diverse aspects of the same phenomenon are mutually elucidated. The construction can fall back upon far‑reaching societal experiences, such as that of the integration of society in its monopolistic phase at the expense of the virtually powerless individuals and by means of them. Hertha Herzog, in a later study of the 'soap operas' popular at that time on American radio—radio series for housewives—applied the formula closely related to jazz theory of 'getting into trouble and getting out of it', to such programmes. This study took the form of a content analysis, empirical in terms of the usual criteria, and achieved analogous results. The positivists themselves must state whether the internal positivistic extension of the so‑called verifiability criterion makes room for the above‑cited models, in that it does not restrict itself to observations requiring verification, but rather includes statements for which any pre‑conditions for their verification can be created at all, [54] or whether the all too indirect possibility of verification of these statements—a possibility burdened down by additional 'variables'—as usual renders them unacceptable.

It ought to be the task of sociology to analyse which problems can be dealt with adequately by means of an empirical approach and which problems cannot be analysed in this manner without forfeiting some degree of meaning. A strictly a priori judgment on this question cannot be made. One can presume that a gap exists between empirical research actually carried out and positivist [49/50] methodology. Even in the form of 'analytical philosophy', the latter, until now, has contributed little that is positive to sociological research, and the reason for this is probably that, in research, interest in the object (Sache) has, in fact, asserted itself—sometimes through crudely pragmatistic considerations—against methodological obsessions. Living science must be rescued from the philosophy which, having been culled from it, holds it in tutelage. One should simply ask oneself whether, for all its faults, the F‑scale of The Authoritarian Personality—a study which operated with empirical methods—could ever have been introduced and improved if it had been developed, from the outset, with the aid of the positivist criteria of the Gutman scale. The dictum of the academic teacher that 'You are here to do research, not to think', mediates between the subordinate status of numerous social scientific surveys and their social standpoint. The inquiring mind which neglects the question 'what' in favour of the question 'how', or neglects the goal of knowledge in favour of the means of knowledge, changes itself for the worse. As a heteronomous cog, it forfeits all its freedom in the machinery. It becomes despiritualized through rationalization. [55] Thought, harnessed to the functions of an office worker, becomes an office worker's mentality in itself. The despiritualized spirit must virtually lead ad absurdum, since it flounders when faced with its own pragmatic tasks. The defamation of fantasy, and the inability to conceive of what does not yet exist, become sand in the mechanism of the apparatus itself, as soon as it finds itself confronted with phenomena not provided for in its schemata. Undoubtedly, part of the blame for the Americans' helplessness in the Vietnamese guerilla war is borne by what the Americans call 'top brass'. Bureaucratic generals pursue a calculating strategy that is unable [50/51] to anticipate Giap's tactics, which are irrational according to their norms. Scientific management, which is what the strategy of warfare has become, results in military disadvantage. Moreover, in societal terms, the prohibition of fantasy is all too compatible with societal statics, with the decline in capitalist expansion which, despite all protestations to the contrary, is becoming discernible. What, by virtue of its own nature, strives for enlargement becomes, as it were, superfluous, and this in turn damages the interests of capital which must expand in order to survive. Anyone acting in accordance with the maxim 'safety first' is in danger of losing everything. They are a microcosm of the prevailing system whose stagnation is precipitated both by the surrounding dangerous situation and by deformations immanent in progress.

It would be worthwhile to write an intellectual history of fantasy, since the latter is the actual goal of positivist prohibitions. In the eighteenth century, both in Saint‑Simon's work and in d'Alembert's Discours préliminaire, fantasy along with art is included in productive labour and participates in the notion of the unleashing of the forces of production. Comte, whose sociology reveals an apologetic, static orientation, is the first enemy of both metaphysics and fantasy simultaneously. The defamation of fantasy or its relegation to a special domain, marked off by the division of labour, is the original phenomenon of the regression of the bourgeois spirit. However, it does not appear as an avoidable error of this spirit, but rather as a consequence of a fatality which instrumental reason—required by society—couples with this taboo. The fact that fantasy is only tolerated when it is reified and set in abstract opposition to reality, makes it no less of a burden to science than to art. Legitimate science and art desperately seek to redeem the mortgage that burdens them. Fantasy implies an intellectual operation rather than free invention—without the equivalent of hastily realized facticity. But this is precisely what is prevented by the positivist theory of the so‑called meaning criterion. In quite formal terms, for instance, this is exemplified in the famous postulate of clarity: 'Everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly. Everything that can be put into words can be put clearly'. [56] But everything which is not sensuously realized retains a halo of indeterminacy. No abstraction is ever quite clear; every abstraction is also indistinct [51/52] on account of the diversity of possible concretizations. Moreover, one is surprised by the language‑philosophical apriorism as Wittgenstein's thesis. Knowledge as free from prejudice of positivism requires would have to confront states of affairs that, in themselves, are anything but clear and are, in fact, confused. There is no guarantee that they can be expressed clearly. The desire to do so, or rather the desire that expression must do strict justice to the object, is legitimate. But this can only be satisfied gradually, and not with the immediacy expected of language only by a view alien to it, unless one dogmatically regards the priority of the instrument of knowledge, even up to the subject‑object relation, as prestabilized—a standpoint emanating from Descartes' theory of the clara et distincta perceptio. Just as it is certain that the object of sociology, contemporary society, is structured, so there is no doubt that, in its immanent claim to rationality, it possesses incompatible characteristics. These possibly give rise to the effort to conceptualize, in a clear manner, what is not clear—but this cannot be made into a criterion for the object itself. Wittgenstein would have been the last to overlook the unfathomable; namely, whether the conceptualization of something which is, for its part, unclear can ever be clear of itself. In social science, new experiences which are only just developing completely mock the criterion of clarity. If one were to measure them here and now against this criterion, then the tentatively developing experience would not be permitted to become active at all. Clarity is a moment in the process of knowledge, but it does not exhaust this process. Wittgenstein's formulation closes its own horizon against expressing mediately, in a complex manner, and in constellations, what cannot be expressed clearly and immediately. In this respect, his own behaviour was far more flexible than his pronouncements. For instance, he wrote to Ludwig von Ficker, who had presented Georg Trakl with a considerable sum of money donated by Wittgenstein, to say that, although he did not understand Trakl's poems, he—Wittgenstein—was convinced of their high quality. Since the medium of poetry is language, and since Wittgenstein deal with language as such and not merely with science, he unintentionally confirmed that one can express what cannot be expressed. Such paradoxicality was hardly alien to his mode of thought. It would be a sign of equivocation to attempt to evade this paradox by claiming a dichotomy between knowledge and poetry. Art is knowledge sui generis. In poetry, [52/53] that upon which Wittgenstein's theory of science lays stress is emphatic: namely, language.

Wittgenstein's hypostasis of the cognitive moment, clarity, as the canon of knowledge clashes with some of his other major theorems. His formulation, 'The world is everything that is the case', which has become an article of faith for positivism, is in itself so ambiguous that it is inadequate as a 'criterion of meaning', in terms of Wittgenstein's own postulate of clarity. Its apparent incontestability and its ambiguity are surely inextricably linked. The statement is armed with a language form which prevents its content from being fixed. To be 'the case' can mean the same as to exist in factual terms, in the sense of what exists [das Seiende] in philosophy τά őντα; but it can also mean: to have logical validity—that two times two is four is 'the case'. The positivists' basic principle conceals the conflict between empiricism and logistics, which the positivists have never settled. In fact, this conflict prevails throughout the entire philosophical tradition and only penetrates positivism as something new since positivism would prefer to know nothing about this tradition. Wittgenstein's statement is grounded in his logical atomism, rightly criticized within positivism. Only single states of affairs—something, for their part, abstracted—can be 'the case'. Recently, Wellmer has criticized Wittgenstein by asserting that one looks in vain for examples of elementary statements in the Tractatus. [57] For there ‘are’ none with the conclusiveness upon which Wittgenstein would have to insist. In announcing examples he implicitly reveals the critique of the category of the 'First'. If one strives for it, then it evaporates. Unlike the actual positivist members of the Vienna Circle, Wittgenstein opposed the desire to replace a positivism hostile to philosophy with a philosophy which was itself questionable—and ultimately, sensualist—through the primacy of the concept of perception. On the other hand, the so-called protocol statements actually transcend language, within whose immanence Wittgenstein wishes to entrench himself. Antinomy is inevitable. The magic circle of reflexion upon language is not breached by recourse to crude, questionable notions such as that of the immediately 'given'. Philosophical categories, such as that of the idea, the sensual, as well as dialectics, all of which have been in existence since Plato's [53/54] Theaetetus, arise in a theory of science hostile to philosophy, thereby revoking its hostility towards philosophy. One cannot dispose of philosophical questions by first deliberately forgetting them, and then rediscovering them with the effect of dernière nouveauté. Carnap's modification of Wittgenstein's criterion of meaning is a retrogressive step. Through the question concerning the criteria of validity he represses the question of truth. Most of all, they would like to relegate this question to metaphysics, In Carnap's opinion, 'metaphysical statements are not "empirical statements"' [Erfahrungssatze] [58] —a simple tautology. What motivates metaphysics is not sense experience, to which Carnap ultimately reduces all knowledge, but rather mediated experience. Kant did not tire of pointing this out.

The fact that the positivists extrapolate from science, in a gigantic circle, the rules which are to ground and justify it, has its fateful consequences, even for the science whose actual progress includes types of experience which, in turn, are not prescribed and approved by science. The subsequent development of positivism confirmed just how untenable Carnap's assertion is that 'protocol sentences . . . themselves do not require corroboration, but rather they served as a basis for all the other statements of science.' [59] Presumably, both logically and within science itself, immediacy is essential; otherwise the category of mediation, for its part, would lack any rational meaning. Even categories which distance themselves as greatly from immediacy as society does, could not be conceptualized without something immediate. Anyone who does not primarily perceive in social phenomena the societal, which expresses itself in them, cannot advance to an authentic concept of society. But in the progress of knowledge the moment of immediacy must be transcended. The objections raised by Neurath and Popper as social scientists against Carnap, namely that protocol sentences can be revised, indicates that these statements are mediated. In the first instance, they are mediated through the subject of perception, presented in accordance with the model of physics. Since Hume, positivism has regarded careful reflection upon this subject as superfluous and, as a result, the subject has constantly crept in as an unnoticed presupposition. The consequences are borne by the truth‑content of protocol sentences. They are both true and not true. They would have to [54/55] be elucidated on the basis of several questionnaires such as are used in surveys in political sociology. As preliminary material, the answers are certainly 'true' and, despite their reference to subjective opinions, they are themselves a part of social objectivity to which opinions themselves belong. The people sampled have affirmed this, or put a cross against this and nothing else. On the other hand, however, in the context of the questionnaires, the answers are frequently inconsistent and contradictory; on an abstract level, they might be pro‑democratic whilst, with regard to concrete 'items', they are anti‑democratic. Hence sociology cannot be satisfied with the data, but rather it must attempt to reveal the derivation of the contradictions; empirical research proceeds accordingly. When viewed subjectively, the philosophy of science's ab ovo scorn for such considerations common in science, presents the dialectical critique with its point of attack. The positivists have never wholly shaken off the latent anti-intellectualism which was already present in Hume's dogmatic degradation of ideas to mere copies of impressions. For them thought is nothing more than reconstruction [Nachvolkzug]; anything beyond this is an evil. Undoubtedly, such a disguised anti-intellectualism, with its unintended political overtones, increases the influence of the positivist doctrine. Amongst its followers, there is one particular type who distinguishes himself both through the lack of a reflective dimension, and through resentment towards those intellectual modes of behaviour which essentially operate within such a dimension.

Positivism internalizes the constraints exercised upon thought by a totally socialized society in order that thought shall function in society. It internalizes these constraints so that they become an intellectual outlook. Positivism is the puritanism of knowledge. [60] What puritanism achieves in the moral sphere is, under [55/56] positivism, sublimated to the norms of knowledge. Kant's equivocally phrased warning not to digress into intelligible worlds, which Hegel countered with his ironic comment on 'evil houses', forms a prelude to this development; but only, of course, as one vocal line in the polyphonic structure of the philosophical score, whereas, for the positivists, it has become the trivially dominant melody of the soprano part. From the outset, knowledge denies what it seeks, what it ardently desires, since this is denied by the desideratum of socially useful labour. Knowledge then projects the taboo which it has imposed upon itself onto its goal, and proscribes what it cannot attain. The process which otherwise might be unbearable for the subject—namely, the integration of thought into what confronts it and what must be penetrated by it—is integrated into the subject by positivism and made into his own affair. The felicity of knowledge is not to be. If one wished to subject positivism to the reductio ad hominem which it so readily practises on metaphysics, then one would surmise that positivism grants a logical form to the sexual taboos which were converted into prohibitions on thought some time ago. Within positivism, it becomes a maxim of knowledge itself that one should not eat from the tree of knowledge. Curiosity is punished in the novelty of thought; utopia must be expelled from thought in every form it takes—including that of negation. Knowledge resigns itself to being a mere repetitive reconstruction. It becomes impoverished just as life is impoverished under work discipline. In the concept of the facts to which one must adhere, and from which one cannot distance oneself, not even through an interpolation of them, knowledge is reduced to the mere reproduction of what is, in any case, present. This is expressed by recourse to logic in the ideal of the continuous deductive system from which nothing is [56/57] excluded. Insensible enlightenment is transformed into regression. The subordinate and trivial in positivist doctrine is not the fault of its representatives. Frequently, when they set aside their gowns, they derive no profit from it. Objective bourgeois spirit has risen up as a replacement for philosophy. One cannot fail to recognize in this the parti pris for the exchange principle, abstracted to the norm of being-for‑another (Füranderessein), with which the criterion of empathetic reconstructability and the concept of communication, ultimately formed in the culture industry, comply as the measure of all that is intellectual. It is hardly disloyal to interpret what the positivists mean by 'empirical' as what something is for something else; the object itself is never to be apprehended. The positivists react to the simple shortcoming that knowledge does not attain its object but merely places it in relations external to the object, by registering this shortcoming as immediacy, purity, gain and virtue. The repression, which the positivist mind creates for itself, suppresses what is not like itself. This causes positivism—despite its avowal of neutrality, if not by virtue of this avowal—to be a political fact. Its categories are latently the practical categories of the bourgeois class, whose enlightenment contained, from the outset, the notion that one cannot have recourse to ideas which cast doubt upon the rationality of the prevailing ratio.

Such a physiognomy of positivism is also that of its central concept: the empirical, experience. In general, categories are only dealt with if, in Hegel's terminology, they are no longer substantial, or if they are no longer unquestionably alive. In positivism, a historical condition of the mind is documented which no longer knows experience and, consequently, both eradicates the indictments of experience and presents itself as its substitute—as the only legitimate form of experience. The immanency of the system, which virtually isolates itself, neither tolerates anything qualitatively different that might be experienced, nor does it enable the human subjects adapted to it to gain unregimented experience. The state of universal mediation and reification of all the relations between human beings sabotages the objective possibility of specific experience of the object—can this world be experienced at all as something living?—together with the anthropological capacity for this. Schelsky rightly called the concept of unregimented experience one of the central points of controversy between dialecticians and positivists. The regimented [57/58] experience prescribed by positivism nullifies experience itself and, in its intention, eliminates the experiencing subject. The correlate of indifference towards the object is the abolition of the subject, without whose spontaneous receptivity, however, nothing objective emerges. As a social phenomenon, positivism is geared to the human type that is devoid of experience and continuity, and it encourages the latter—like Babbitt—to see himself as the crown of creation. The appeal of positivism must surely be, sought in its a priori adaptation to this type. In addition, there is its pseudo‑radicalism which makes a clean sweep without attacking anything substantially, and which deals with every substantially radical thought by denouncing it as mythology, as ideology and outdated. Reified consciousness automatically turns upon every thought which has not been covered in advance by facts and figures, with the objection: 'where is the evidence?'. The vulgar‑empirical praxis of concept‑free social science, which usually takes no notice of analytical philosophy, betrays something about the latter. Positivism is the spirit of the age, analogous to the mentality of jazz fans. Similar, too, is the attraction it holds for young people. This is augmented by the absolute certainty which it promises, after the collapse of traditional metaphysics. But this certainty is illusory; the pure non‑contradiction, to which it contracts, is simply a tautology—the empty compulsion to repeat, which has developed into a concept. Certainty becomes something quite abstract and transcends itself. The desire to live in a world without anxiety is satisfied by the pure identity of thought with itself. Paradoxically, security, which fascinates positivism, is similar to the alleged safety which the functionaries of authenticity derive from theology, and for whose sake they advocate a theology which no one believes in. In the historical dialectics of enlightenment, ontology shrinks to a zero point. But this point, although in fact nothing, becomes the bastion—or the ineffable—for the advocates of scientism. This is in keeping with the consciousness of the masses, who sense that they are societally superfluous and ineffectual, and at the same time cling to the fact that the system, if it is to survive, cannot let them starve. Ineffectuality is savoured as destruction, whilst empty formalism is indifferent, and therefore conciliatory, towards whatever exists. Real impotence itself consciously becomes an authoritarian mental attitude. Perhaps objective emptiness holds a special attraction for the emergent anthropological type of the empty [58/59] being lacking experience. The affective realization of an instrumental thought alienated from its object is mediated through its technification. The latter presents such thought as if it were avant‑garde.

Popper advocates an 'open' society. The idea of such a society is contradicted, however, by the close regimented thought postulated by his logic of science as a 'deductive system'. The most recent form of positivism fits the administered world perfectly. In the early days of nominalism, and even for early bourgeois society, Bacon's empiricism implied the emancipation of experience from the ordo of pre‑given concepts—the 'open' as liberation from the hierarchical structure of bourgeois society. Since, however, the liberated dynamics of bourgeois society are nowadays moving towards a new statics, this openness is obstructed through the restitution of closed intellectual control-systems by the scientistic syndrome of thought. If one applies to positivism its own supreme maxim, one might say that positivism—with its elective affinity to the bourgeoisie—is self‑contradictory in that it declares experience to be its ultimate, and yet in the very same breath prohibits it. The exclusivity which it ascribes to the ideal of experience both systematizes it and thereby potentially transcends it.

Popper's theory is more flexible than normal positivism. He does not insist upon value‑freedom in such an unreflected manner as does the most influential tradition in German sociology since Weber. Albert, for instance, writes: ‘Adorno's judgement that the whole value problem is falsely posed, bears no relation to a definite formulation of this problem, and can therefore hardly be judged; it is an assertion which sounds comprehensive but carries no risk.’ [61] To this one must reply that the criticized abstractness of formulation corresponds to a dichotomy which has been sacrosanct in Germany since Weber, and that its inaugurators and not its critics should be censured. The antinomies in which positivism has been entangled through the norm of value‑freedom, however, can be made concrete. Just as a strictly apolitical stance becomes a political fact, as does capitulation in the face of might in the political play of forces, so value neutrality generally subordinates itself, in an unreflected manner, to what the positivists call valid value systems. Even Popper with his [59/60] demand 'that it should be one of the tasks of scientific criticism to point out confusions of value and to separate purely scientific value problems of truth, of relevance, simplicity, and so forth, from extra‑scientific problems', [62] takes back to some extent, what he originally permits. The problem of this dichotomy can actually be traced in concrete terms to the social sciences. If one applies value freedom as vigorously as Max Weber did on public occasions—but not always in his texts—then sociological studies can easily violate the criterion of relevance, which Popper after all includes. If the sociology of art seeks to brush aside the question of the quality of works whose effects it studies, then it fails to apprehend such relevant complexes as that of manipulation through the consciousness industry, the truth or falsity content of 'stimuli' to which a random sample of people is exposed, and ultimately the determinate insight into ideology as societally false consciousness. A sociology of art, unable or unwilling to distinguish between the quality of an honest and significant work and that of a kitsch product, calculated in terms of its influence, forfeits not only the critical function it seeks to exercise, but also the knowledge of such faits sociaux as the autonomy or heteronomy of intellectual works, which depends upon their social location and determines their social influence. If this is ignored, then we are left with the empty remains of a 'head count'—at most, mathematically perfected—of likes and dislikes, of no consequence for the social significance of the registered likes and dislikes. The critique of the evaluative procedure of the social sciences should not be refuted, nor should, for instance, the entological theory of value of Scheler's middle period be restored as a norm for the social sciences. The dichotomy between value and value freedom, and not the one or the other, is untenable. If Popper concedes that the scientistic ideals of objectivity and value freedom are, in turn, values, then this extends to the truth of judgments. Their meaning is implied by the 'evaluative' notion that a true judgment is better than a false one. Analysis of any substantive social‑scientific theorems would necessarily encounter their axiological elements, even if the theorems do not give an account of them. But this axiological moment does not stand in abstract opposition to making a judgment, but rather is immanent to it. Value and value freedom are not separate; rather, [60/61] they are contained in one another. Each, by itself, would be false—both the judgment which is fixed to an external value and a judgment which paralysed itself through the extirpation of its immanent and inextinguishable evaluative moment. One has to be completely blind to separate the thema probandum, together with the line of argument in Weber's treatise on the Protestant Ethic, from the—by no means value‑free—intention of his critique of Marx's base‑superstructure theorem. This intention nourishes the individual arguments, but above all it also supports the insulation of the investigation against the socio‑economic origin of the theologumena, which, it is claimed, constituted capitalism. Weber's anti‑materialist standpoint not only provides the motivation—as he would admit—for the questions raised in his sociology of religion, but also its focus of attention, the selection of material and the mental complex. Self‑consciously, his line of argument turns the economic derivation upon its head. The rigidity of the concept of value, external to thought and object alike, was, for both sides, precisely what was unsatisfactory in the debate on value‑freedom. Moreover, without mentioning Weber, a positivist such as Durkheim stated frankly that cognitive and evaluative reason were the same and that, consequently, the absolute separation of value and knowledge was invalid. With respect to the latter, positivists and ontologists are in agreement. The solution of the alleged problem of value, which Albert finds lacking in the dialecticians' work, must surely be sought—to use a positivist concept on this occasion—in the fact that the alternative is apprehended as a pseudo‑problem (Scheinproblem), as an abstraction which dissolves when confronted with the concrete view of society and reflection upon consciousness of society. This was the point of the thesis concerning the reification of the problem of value, namely, that the so‑called values—whether they are regarded as something to be eliminated from the social sciences, or as their blessing—are elevated to something independent, quasi self‑constitutive; whereas, neither in real historical terms, nor as categories of knowledge, are they anything of the kind. Value-relativism is the correlate to the absolutist apotheosis of values. As soon as values are removed from the arbitrariness and affliction of the knowing consciousness, and are torn away from its reflection and from the historical context in which they emerge, they fall prey to this very relativity which an invocation of these values sought to banish. The economic concept of value, which served [61/62] as a model both for Lotze's philosophical concept, and that of the South West German School, and subsequently for the dispute on objectivity, is the original phenomenon of reification—namely, the exchange‑value of the commodity. Starting out from the latter, Marx developed his analysis of fetishism, which interpreted the concept of value as the reflection of the relationship between human beings as if it were a characteristic of objects. The normative problems arise from historical constellations, and they themselves demand, as it were, mutely and 'objectively', that they be changed. What subsequently congeals as values for historical memory are, in fact, question‑forms (Fragegestalten) of reality, and formally they do not differ so greatly from Popper's concept of a problem. For instance, as long as the forces of production are not sufficient to satisfy the primitive needs of all, one cannot declare, in abstract terms, as a value that all human beings must have something to eat. But if there is still starvation in a society in which hunger could be avoided here and now in view of the available and potential wealth of goods, then this demands the abolition of hunger through a change in the relations of production. This demand arises from the situation, from its analysis in all its dimensions, independently of the generality and necessity of a notion of value. The values onto which this demand, arising from the situation, is projected are the poor and largely distorted copy of this demand. The mediating category is immanent critique. It contains the moment of value freedom in the form of its undogmatic reason, succinctly expressed in the confrontation between what a society appears to be and what it is. The value moment, however, lives in the practical challenge which must be construed from the situation; to fulfil this task, however, one requires a theory of society. The false chorismos of value freedom and value reveals itself to be the same as that of theory and practice. Society, if it is understood as the functional context of human self‑preservation, 'means' this: namely, that it aims objectively at a reproduction of its life which is consonant with the state of its powers. Otherwise, every societal arrangement even societalization itself—in the simplist cognitive sense is absurd. As soon as it were no longer actually retarded by societal or scientistic authoritative orders, the subjective reason of the ends‑means relation would be transformed into objective reason, which is contained in the axiological moment as a moment of knowledge itself. Value and value freedom are mediated dialectically [62/63] through one another. No knowledge orientated towards the mediated essence of society would be true if it desired a different state of affairs. To this extent, it would be an 'evaluative' knowledge. Nothing can be demanded of society which does not emerge from the relationship between the concept and the empirical, which is not therefore essentially knowledge.

A dialectical theory of society does not simply brush aside the desideratum of value freedom, but rather seeks to transcend it, together with the opposing desideratum. It should adopt this attitude towards positivism in general. It may be that out of a feeling of aversion towards philosophy, dialectics treat Marx's distinction between the representation and origin of knowledge philosophically in a manner that is all too light. With this distinction, Marx intended to ward off the objection that he was devising a deductive system. What is true here, however, is the heavy accent upon the existent as opposed to the unleashed concept—the sharpening of critical theory against idealism. It is an innate temptation for thought which proceeds immanently to disregard the facts. But the dialectical concept is mediation, not something which exists in itself. This imposes on the dialectical concept the duty of not pretending that there is any truth set apart from the mediated, from the facts. A dialectical critique of positivism finds its most important point of attack in reification, in the reification of science and of unreflected facticity. And consequently, such critique must not reify its concepts either. Quite correctly, Albert recognizes that such central concepts as society or collectivity, which are not however sensorily verifiable concepts, should not be hypostatized nor posited and fixed in a naively realistic manner as things that exist in themselves. Nevertheless, a theory endangered by such reification is persuaded to become a theory of the object while the object itself is so hardened that it recurs in the theory—provided that the theory merely 'reflects'—as its dogma. If society, a functional and not a substantial concept, remains hierarchically above all individual phenomena in an apparently objective manner, then even dialectical sociology cannot ignore the aspect of their reified nature. Otherwise it distorts that which is decisive, namely, the relationships of domination. Even Durkheim's concept of the collective consciousness, which so obviously reifies mental phenomena, derives its truth content from the constraint exerted by societal [63/64] mores. But this constraint ought, in turn, to be derived from the relationships of domination in the real life process, and not accepted as an ultimate pregiven or as a thing [Sache]. Perhaps, in primitive societies, the lack of food necessitates organizational modes of constraint which recur in situations of scarcity in supposedly mature societies where such situations are caused by the relations of production and are consequently unnecessary, The question which comes first, the socially necessary separation of physical and mental labour or the usurpatory privilege of the medicine man resembles the debate over the chicken and the egg. In any case, the shaman an requires ideology and without him it would not be possible. For the sake of sacrosanct theory one cannot exorcise the possibility that social constraint might be an animal or biological inheritance. The inescapable spell of the animal world is reproduced in the brutal domination of a society, still caught up in natural history. But one should not apologetically conclude from this that constraint is immutable. Ultimately it is positivism's most profound moment of truth—even if it is one against which positivism rebels as it does against the word which holds it in its spell—that the facts, that which exists in this manner and not in any other, have only attained that impenetrable power which is then reinforced by the scientistic cult of facts in scientific thought, in a society without freedom of which its own subjects are not masters. Even the philosophical preservation of positivism would require the procedure of interpretation prohibited by positivism—the interpretation of that which, in the course of the world, prevents interpretation. Positivism is the conceptless appearance of negative society in the social sciences. In the debate, dialectics induces positivism to become conscious of such negativity, of its own negativity. The traces of such consciousness are not lacking in Wittgenstein. The further positivism is driven the more energetically it drives itself beyond its boundaries. Wittgenstein's statement, emphasized by Wellmer, ‘that much must be prepared in language in order that mere naming has a meaning’, [63] achieves no less than the recognition of the fact that tradition is constitutive for language and consequently, precisely in Wittgenstein's sense, for knowledge as such. Wellmer touches a nerve‑point when he detects in this an objective denial of the reductionism of the Vienna Circle, a [64/65] rejection of the criterion of validity for protocol statements. Reductionism has even less of a claim to an authoritative model for the social sciences. According to Wellmer, even Carnap relinquishes the principle of the reduction of all terms to observational predicates and introduces alongside observational  language a theoretical one which has been only partially interpreted. [64] In this one may reasonably detect a decisive developmental tendency for the whole of positivism. It is consumed by increasing differentiation and self‑reflection. By using a widespread typification its apologetics is able to profit from this; central objections to the school are rejected as outdated when compared with the school's current level of development. Recently Dahrendorf implied that the positivism criticized by the Frankfurt School no longer existed. But the more the positivists are unable to maintain their harsh but suggestive norms, the more the appearance of a legitimation for their scorn for philosophy and for the methods penetrated by the latter vanishes. Like Popper, even Albert seems to abandon prohibitive norms. [65] Towards the end of his essay, 'The Myth of Total Reason', it becomes difficult to draw a sharp dividing line between Popper's and Albert's concept of science and dialectical reflection on society. As a difference there remains the following, 'the dialectical cult of total reason is too fastidious to content itself with "specific" solutions. Since there are no solutions which meet its demands, it is forced to rest content with insinuation, allusion and metaphor'. [66] Dialectical theory, however, does not indulge in a cult of total reason; it criticizes such. reason. But whilst arrogance towards specific solutions is alien to it, it does not allow itself to be silenced by them.

Nevertheless, one should not lose sight of what continues to survive untouched in positivism. Dahrendorf's ironic comment that the Frankfurt School is the last school of sociology is symptomatic. What was probably meant here was that the age of schools within sociology was past and that unified science has triumphantly ousted the schools as archaically qualitative entities. But no matter how democratic and, egalitarian the prophecy is intended to be, its fulfilment would be intellectually totalitarian and would decisively undermine the very dispute which Dahrendorf himself regards as the agent of all progress. The ideal of [65/66] progressive technical rationalization, even of science, disavows the pluralistic conceptions to which the opponents of dialectics otherwise pay homage. Anyone who, when faced with such a slogan as that of the last school, recalls the question of the little girl upon seeing a large dog—how long can such a dog live?—does not need to subscribe to any sociological psychologism.

Despite the avowed intention of both sides to conduct the controversy in a rational spirit, the controversy retains its thorny nature. In the press comments on the dispute over positivism, particularly after the Sixteenth German Sociology Congress, which incidentally often did not even follow the course of the debate in an adequate and informed manner, one repeatedly finds the stereotyped statement that no progress was made, that the arguments were already familiar, that no settlement of the opposing viewpoints was in sight. Consequently, doubt was thrown upon the fruitfulness of the debate. These misgivings, which are full of rancour, miss the point. They expect tangible progress in science at a point where its tangibility is just as much in question as its current conception. It has not been established whether the two positions can be reconciled through mutual criticism as they might be in Popper's model. Albert's cheap comments ad spectatores on the whole subject of Hegel, not to mention his most recent comments, provide little ground for hope. To protest that one has been misunderstood does not further the discussion any more than the nudging appeal for agreement by refering to the notorious unintelligibility of the opponent. If one contaminates by association dialectics and irrationalism then one blinds oneself to the fact that criticism of the logic of non-contradiction does not suspend the latter but rather reflects upon it. One can generalize the observations made even in Tübingen on the ambiguities contained in the word criticism. Even when the same concepts are used, in fact, even where consensus is achieved, the opposing parties actually mean and strive after such diverse things that the consensus remains a façade covering the antagonisms. A continuation of the controversy would surely have to make visible those underlying antagonisms, which have by no means been fully articulated as yet. It could often be observed in the history of philosophy that doctrines which consider themselves to be the true representation of another diverge because of the climate of the intellectual context right up to the last detail. The relationship of Fichte to Kant would provide [66/67] the most striking example. In sociology matters are no different; no matter whether sociology as a science has to maintain society in its particular functioning form, as was the tradition from Comte to Parsons, or whether sociology strives for the change of society's basic structures as a result of societal experience, this is determined down to the last category by the theory of science and therefore can scarcely be decided in terms of the theory of science. It is not even the immediate relationship to praxis which is decisive; but rather what role one accords science in the life of the mind and ultimately in reality. Divergencies here are not those of world view. They have their rightful place in logical and epistemological questions, in the interpretation of contradiction and non-contradiction, of essence and appearance, of observation and interpretation. Dialectics remains intransigent in the dispute since it believes that it continues to reflect beyond the point at which its opponents break off, namely before the unquestioned authority of the institution of science.


*  Special gratitude is due to Albrecht Wellmer for a paper read at a private seminar (held by Ludwig v. Friedeburg, and the author) on the philosophy of science in the summer semester of 1967.

1  Cf. the introduction to E. Durkheim Soziologie und Philosophie, Frankfurt 1967, pp. 8f, footnote. It must be restated in advance here that Popper and Albert distance themselves from the specific position of logical positivism. The reason why they are nevertheless regarded as positivists should be evident from what follows.

2  Ralf Dahrendorf 'Remarks on the Discussion of the Papers of Karl R. Popper and Theodor W. Adorno', see below, p. 123.

loc. cit.

4  Cf. Hans Albert, 'The Myth of Total Reason', pp. 167f.

5  Dahrendorf, p. 128 below.

6  loc. cit., p. 128.

7  The concept of subjective reason is developed in Max Horkheimer, The Eclipse of Reason (New York 1947) reps. 1974.

8  Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico‑Philosophicus, 4.112 (London 1961), p. 49.

9  Hans Albert, 'The Myth of Total Reason', p. 175 below.

10  Cf. Helmut F. Spinner, 'Wo warst du, Platon. Ein kleiner Protest gegen eine "grosse Philosophie",' Soziale Welt, vol. 18, 1967, No. 2/3, p. 174 footnote.

** A source of origin.

11  Cf. Albert, loc. cit., p. 164, footnote 1.

12  Theodor W. Adorno, 'Gesellschaft', in Evangelische Staatslexikon (Stuttgart, 1967) column 637. English trans. F. Jameson, 'Society' in Salmagundi, no. 10‑11, 1969‑70, p. 145.

13  Cf. Max Horkheimer, loc. cit.

14  Cf. Hans Albert, 'The Myth of Total Reason', pp. 167f.

15  Cf. loc. cit., p. 168.

16  loc. cit.. p. 175, footnote 26.

17  Adorno, 'Gesellschaft', loc. cit., column 639. English trans. F. Jameson, Salmagundi, loc. cit., pp. 148‑9. Original slightly revised.

18  Cf. Jürgen Habermas, 'The Analytical Theory of Science and Dialectics. A postscript to the Controversy between Popper and Adorno', p. 162 below.

19  Cf. Theodor W. Adorno, 'Zum Verhältnis von Soziologie und Psychologie', in Sociologica, Frankfurter Beiträge zur Sociologie, 1955, vol. 1, pp. 12ff. English trans. as 'Sociology and Psychology' in New Left Review, no. 46, 1967, No. 47, 1968.

20  Now in: Max Horkheimer, Kritische Theorie (Frankfurt, 1968), vol. 2, pp. 82ff. English trans. by M. J. O'Connell el al., Critical Theory (New York, 1973/London 1974), pp. 132ff.

21  The dual nature of language is revealed in that it—and to this extent it is allied with the positivists—gains objectivity solely through subjective intention. The objectivity of language is recognized and strengthened only by the person who expresses what he intends subjectively as precisely as possible, whilst every attempt to rely upon language's being‑in‑itself, or upon its ontological essence, ends in the bad subjectivism of the hypostasis of verbal figures. This was perceived by Benjamin. In positivism itself, with the exception of Wittgenstein, this positivistic motif is not accorded its proper due. The stylistic negligence of many adherents to scientism, which may become rationalized with the taboo on the moment of expression in language, betrays reified consciousness. Since science is dogmatically made into an objectivity which cannot be mediated through the subject, linguistic expression is trivialized. Anyone who posits states of affairs as existent in themselves without subjective mediation will be indifferent towards the formalization at the cost of idolizing reality.

22  In abstract generality, Popper's twenty‑first thesis contains something like a common denominator, Cf. Popper, 'The Logic of the Social Sciences', loc. cit., p. 101.

23  Initially I declared myself to be in agreement with Popper's criticism of 'misguided and erroneous methodological . . . naturalism or scientism' (cf. Popper, loc. cit., p. 90, and Adorno 'On the Logic of the Social Sciences', p. 108), but did not then conceal that, in my presentation of criticism, I had to go further than Popper would approve (cf. Adorno, loc. cit., pp. 108ff.).

24  Popper, 'The Logic of the Social Sciences', p. 90.

25  Cf. Hans Albert, 'Behind Positivism's Back?', pp. 242ff.

26  loc. cit., p. 244.

27  Cf. Jurgen Habermas, 'A Positivistically Bisected Rationalism', p. 210.

28  Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery (London/New York, 6th imp., 1972), p. 97.

29  'The fate of being deleted can even befall a protocol sentence'. Otto Neurath, 'Protokollsätze', in Erkenntnis, vol. 3, 1932/33, p. 209.

30  See above, pp. 5f.

31  Emile Durkheim, Sociology and Philosophy. English trans. D. F. Pocock (London, 1965), p. 83.

32  Popper, 'The Logic of the Social Sciences', loc. cit., p. 96 below.

33  Habermas 'The Analytical Theory of Science and Dialectics', loc. cit., p. 151.

34  Popper, loc. cit., p. 95.

35  Ibid, p. 95

36  Cf. Max Horkheimer, 'Montaigne und die Funktion der Skepsis', in Kritische Theorie, II (Frankfurt, 1968), p. 220 passim.

37  Cf. Habermas, 'A Positivistically Bisected Rationalism', loc. cit., p. 220 below.

38  Albert, 'The Myth of Total Reason', loc. cit., p. 173 below.

39  Albert, 'Behind Positivism's Back?', loc. cit., p. 241, also footnote 41: 'Cf. Popper, "Die Zielsetzung der Erfahrungswissenschaft" [in Ratio, vol. 1. 1957]'. Revised version . . . in K. R. Popper, Objective Knowledge (Oxford, 1972).'

40  Popper, 'The Logic of the Social Sciences'. loc. cit., p. 97.

41  Ibid, p. 97.

42  Habermas, 'The Analytical Theory of Science and Dialectics', loc. cit., p. 134; see p. 31 above.

43  Ibid, p. 139.

44  Cf. Theodor W. Adorno and Ursula Jaerisch, 'Anmerkungen zum sozialen Konflikt heute' in Gesellschaft, Recht und Politik (Neuwied/Berlin, 1968), pp. 1ff.

45  Cf. Walter Benjamin, Briefe (Frankfurt, 1966), pp. 782ff.

46  Cf. Habermas, 'The Analytical Theory of Science and Dialectics', loc. cit., p. 139; see also Adorno, 'Sociology and Empirical Research', p. 76.

47  Wittgenstein, Tractatus, 4.21, loc. cit., p. 51.

48  Cf. Popper, 'The Logic of the Social Sciences', loc. cit., p. 88.

49  loc. cit., p. 92.

50  loc. cit., pp. 89ff.

51  Wittgenstein, Tractatus, 2.021, loc. cit., p. 11.

52  The positivist usage of the concept of art would require critical analysis. For positivists it serves as a rubbish bin for everything which the restricted concept of science wishes to exclude. But since it accepts intellectual life all too readily as a fact, this concept of science must admit that intellectual experience is not exhausted merely in what it tolerates. In the positivist concept of art emphasis is laid upon the supposedly free invention of fictitious reality. This has always been secondary in works of art, but recedes entirely in modern painting and literature. Consequently art's participation in knowledge, namely, that it can express the essential which eludes science and must bear the cost of this, is not recognized or is disputed in advance according to hypostatized scientistic criteria. If one committed oneself so strictly to given states of affairs—as positivism implies—then one would be bound to them even as far as art is concerned. One could not regard art as the abstract negation of science. The positivists, although they treat art en canaille and reveal little knowledge of it, do not nevertheless go so far in their rigorism as to prohibit art in earnest, as might be consistent with this view. Their uncritical neutral attitude is responsible for this which mainly benefits the culture industry. Unsuspectingly, like Schiller, they regard art as a realm of freedom. But this is not entirely the case. They frequently behave in an alien or hostile manner towards radical modernism which turns its back upon pictorial realism. They secretly measure even what is not science by scientific standards such as that of the actual or even a picture theory of reality which appears so strangely in Wittgenstein's theory of science. Everywhere throughout positivist writings the gesture of 'I don't understand that' becomes an automatic response. At heart, hostility to art and hostility to theory are identical.

53  Cf. Hans Albert, 'The Myth of Total Reason', loc. cit., p. 175.

54  Cf. Wellmer, loc. cit., p. 15.

55  At the height of philosophical rationalism, Pascal emphatically distinguished between two types of spirit: the 'esprit de géométrie' and the 'esprit de finesse'. According to the great mathematician's insight, which anticipated many things, the two are seldom united in one person—yet they can be reconciled. At the inception of a development which has since proceeded unopposed, Pascal still perceived which productive intellectual forces fall prey to the process of quantification. Moreover, he conceived of 'pre‑scientific' human common sense as a resource which could just as easily benefit the spirit of mathematics as vice versa. The reification of science in the following three centuries put an abrupt end to such a reciprocal relationship. The 'esprit de finesse' has been disqualified. The fact that the term was rendered as 'Geist des Feinsinns' ['spirit of refinement'] in Wasmuth's 1946 German translation, demonstrates both the disgraceful growth of this latter spirit and the decline of 'finesse' as the qualitative moment of rationality.

56  Wittgenstein, Tractatus, 4‑116, loc. cit., p. 51.

57  Cf. Wellmer, loc. cit., p. 8.

58  loc. cit., p. 10.

59  loc. cit., p. 14.

60  At the Frankfurt Congress in 1968, Erwin Scheuch, in particular, advocated a sociology 'which seeks to be nothing more than sociology'. At times, scientific modes of behaviour recall the neurotic fear of bodily contact. Purity becomes overvalued. If one were to strip sociology of everything which, for instance, does not strictly correspond to Weber's definition in the opening pages of Economy and Society [Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft], then there would be nothing left. Without all the economic, historical, psychological and anthropological moments it would shuffle aimlessly around every social phenomenon. Its raison d'être is not that of an area of study, of an academic 'subject', but rather the constitutive—and therefore neglected—context of those areas of study of an older type. It is a piece of intellectual compensation for the division of labour, and should not, in turn, be unconditionally fixed in accordance with the division of labour. But it is no more true to claim that sociology simply brings the contents of these areas of study into a more or less fruitful contact. What is called interdisciplinary co‑operation cannot be equated with sociology. It is the task of the latter to reveal the mediations of the object categories—each one of which leads to the next. Sociology is orientated towards the immanent interplay of the elements dealt with in a relatively independent manner by economics, history, psychology and anthropology. It attempts to restore scientifically the unity which they form, in themselves, as societal elements, and which they constantly forfeit through science—though not only through science. This can be most easily apprehended in psychology. Even in the Freudian school, with its monadological approach, society lies hidden in innumerable moments. The individual, its substratum, has made himself independent of society for social reasons. Formalism, which is the result of the instrumentalization, or virtual mathematization, of sociological reason, completely liquidated the qualitative difference between sociology and other sciences and thus its autarchy, proclaimed by the advocates of scientism.

61  Albert, 'The Myth of Total Reason', loc. cit., p. 184 below.

62  Popper, 'The Logic of the Social Sciences', loc. cit., p. 97 below.

63  Wellmer, loc. cit., p. 12.

64  Cf. loc. cit., pp. 23f.

65  Cf. Albert, 'Behind Positivism's Back', loc. cit., p. 227 below.

66  Albert, 'The Myth of Total Reason', loc. cit., p. 197 below.

SOURCE: Adorno, Theodor W. "Introduction," in The Positivist Dispute in German Sociology, translated by Glyn Adey and David Frisby (London: Heinemann, 1976), pp. 1-67.

Note: Footnotes have been converted into endnotes on this web page.

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