American Sociological Association

The Weberian Presuppositional Analytic

This article offers an account of a conceptual framework in Max Weber’s writings offering leverage on empirical, normative, and theoretical questions. Weber relied on the notion of Voraussetzung—presupposition—across his work to distinguish the criteria of concepts of empirical phenomena, accounts of such phenomena, and conditions shaping evaluative stands among alternative courses of action. Weber also refers to Denkvoraussetzungen—presuppositions of thought—which refer to sets of fundamental principles structuring experience. Presuppositions of thought represent historically specific metaphysical and ontological orientations. Based on a systematic analysis of Weber’s work, this article reconstructs the three main forms taken by the concept Voraussetzung in Weber’s writings (i.e., structuring logics, value stands, and presuppositions of thought). This article challenges sociologists to identify presuppositions of thought and to describe their ramifications throughout society.


Eric Malczewski





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