Max Weber’s Ideal Types – Drawing the line between fact and fiction

Max Weber, sociologist
Max Weber, sociologist via Wikipedia

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  1. To my knowledge, Weber never claimed Ideal Types were the only or best way of classifying or listing group representations. Every critique I’ve come across of it lists its faults or shortcomings as a total scientific image, which misses the entire point.

    Also, while ethical methodology should always be utilized in the pursuit of understanding, the understanding itself is separate from ethics and morals. Truth and facts are truth and facts, regardless of the ethics and morals of the person or people viewing them. It is in the application and practice of the knowledge that ethics and morals come into play.
    (Apologies if this is a bit disjointed. I’m not entirely awake.)


  2. Thanks for your comments. Some would say that the pursuit of understanding cannot be divorced from ethics. This is partly because money is almost always directly or indirectly involved, and to spend it for understanding – instead of in some other way – is, one could argue, a choice involving ethics.

    As for truth, it seems that this, too, is a potentially problematic concept. While truth and facts may be truth and facts from God’s perspective, for most of us mere mortals, we only see from a perspective and, to borrow from St. Paul, through a glass darkly.


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