By Paul Q. Hirst

First released in 1976, this booklet is worried with the character of class within the social sciences. Its thesis is that classifications are established upon and are derived from theoretical reasons. class isn't really a theoretically impartial typification or ordering of social kinds. the reason for this is that gadgets categorised – societies, social associations – are usually not given to wisdom independently of the kinds which build them and as the different types of type are themselves the goods of theories.

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Extra resources for Social Evolution and Sociological Categories (Routledge Revivals)

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Weber’s fundamental typology of the forms of social action (Economy and Society— hereafter E&S—vol. I, ch. e. man as a being of purpose and a free agent in the matter of value-choice. The attributes and possibilities of orientation of this subject appear in the content of the types. The differences between the types consist in the nature of the end towards which action is directed, the source of that end, and the character of the means-ends relationship. Because culture is a realm of freedom not all the ends conceivable in it are equivalent or empirically realisable.

The objects and problems of the cultural sciences are constituted in such a way that theoretical criticism of the pertinence and rigour of these objects and problems is impossible. The space for theory is abolished from the cultural sciences: values are not theory and cannot be questioned by it, ‘empirical’ knowledge is an a-theoretical set of particular propositions. Weber uses the fact-value distinction as a means to exclude rigorous, general explanatory knowledge. The separation of value and fact, in its Weberian form, guarantees freedom of evaluative ‘points of view’ and freedom from theory.

The sole condition on which Terray can achieve even a limited correspondence of Marx and Morgan is to reduce Marx’s theory to the crude ‘materialistic interpretation of history’ that led Marx in disgust to say ‘I am not a Marxist’. The key to our problematisation of the notion of ‘evolutionism’ has been the concept of teleology. The non-teleological theory of natural selection was contrasted with theories in the biological and social sciences which subject all nature to a universal principle producing purposive change, and with the practice of reconstructing by generalisation specific successions of biological and social forms.

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