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Max Weber s Parliamentary Theory of Knowledge Workshop on Rhetoric of Innovation, Helsinki 8.2.2010 Kari Palonen.

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Präsentation zum Thema: "Max Weber s Parliamentary Theory of Knowledge Workshop on Rhetoric of Innovation, Helsinki 8.2.2010 Kari Palonen."—  Präsentation transkript:

1 Max Weber s Parliamentary Theory of Knowledge Workshop on Rhetoric of Innovation, Helsinki Kari Palonen

2 Rehabilitating forgotten and neglected thoughts Recovery of rhetoric since the 1980s There exists and unknown, mainly 19th century, parliamentary literature on rhetoric and rhetorical literature on parliaments Parliamentarism as the most explicitly rhetorical style of politics, government by speaking (Macaulay) An inherent link between parliamentary politics and perspetivistic theory of knowledge in the work of Max Weber Webers debt to the deliberative genre of rhetoric and its parliamentary paradigm

3 Weber on Objectivity Die Objektivit ä t sozialwissenschaftlicher und sozialpolitischer Erkenntnis, Archiv f ü r Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik 1, 1904, ; Gesammelte Aufs ä tze zur Wissenschaftslehre, (GAW) The 'Objectivity' in Social Science and Social Policy (translated by Keith Tribe), in: Sam Whimster (ed.), The Essential Weber. London: Routledge, (EW)

4 Objectivity and Perspectives Es gibt keine schlechthin 'objektive' wissenschaftliche Analyse des Kulturlebens oder– was vielleicht etwas Engeres, für unsern Zweck aber sicher nichts wesentlich anderes bedeutet – der 'sozialen Erscheinungen' unabhängig von speziellen und 'einseitigen' Gesichtspunkten, nach denen sie – ausdrücklich oder stillschweigend, bewußt oder unbewußt – als Forschungsobjekt ausgewählt, analysiert und darstellend gegliedert werden. (GAW 170) There is no absolutely 'objective' scientific analysis of cultural life - or to put it perhaps more precisely, without however materially altering our meaning - there is no 'objective' analysis of social phenomena independent of special and one-sided perspectives, on the basis of which such phenomena can be (explicitly or implicitly, consciously or unconsciously) selected as an object of research, analysed and systematically represented (EW, 374)

5 Objectivity in disputes (dt) Da ß das Problem als solches besteht und, kann niemandem entgehen, der den Kampf um Methode, 'Grundbegriffe' und Voraussetzungen, den steten Wechsel der 'Gesichtspunkte' und die stete Neubestimmung der 'Begriffe', die verwendet werden, beobachtet und sieht, wie theoretische und historische Betrachtungsform noch immer durcheine scheinbar un ü berbr ü ckbare Kluft getrennt sind: 'zwei National ö konomien', wie einverzweifelnder Wiener Examinand seinerzeit jammernd klagte. Was hei ß t hier Objektivit ä t? Lediglich diese Frage wollen die nachfolgenden Ausf ü hrungen er ö rtern. (GAW, )

6 Objectivity in disputes (engl) No one can evade the fact that the problem exists … this is clear for anyone who observes the struggle over method, 'basic concepts' and presuppositions, the constant change of 'viewpoints' and the continual redefinition of 'concepts' – it is evident that theoretical and historical deliberations still seem to be separated by an unbridgeable clasm: 'two sciences of economics!' as a bewildered Viennese examinee once peevishly complained. What does objectivity mean in this context? The following discussion is devoted solely to this question. (EW, )

7 Rhetoric of academic disputes Disputes not exception but rule, not to terminate them but give fair chances to all Four genres of rhetoric as alternatives disputes Speech ex cathedra – acclamation or rejection (epideictic rhetoric) No blind judge for the disputes (forensic rhetoric) Neither consensus nor compromise a value (rhetoric of negotiation) Debate pro et contra between opposed perspectives (deliberative rhetoric)

8 Weber on the value of controversies Das Kennzeichen des sozialpolitischen Charakters eines Problems ist es ja geradezu, daß es nicht auf Grund bloß technischer Erwägungen aus feststehenden Zwecken heraus zu erledigen ist, daß um die regulativen Wertmaßstäbe selbst gestritten werden kann und muß, weil das Problem in die Region der allgemeinen Kulturfragen hineinragt. (GAW 153) The social and political character of a problem is distinguished by the fact that it cannot be resolved by the application of mere technical considerations to fixed ends, that argument can and must arise over the regulating standards of value, and because the problem reaches into the region of general cultural questions. (EW, 363)

9 Scholarly disputes in the human sciences Controversies generally accepted in politics In the academic equally omnipresent, should be equally recognised In the cultural sciences everything problematic, no common agenda of questions and thematic fields (Fragen und Gebiete) The eternal youth (ewige Jugendlichkeit) of the historical sciences The constant re-building of concepts (Umbildungsprozess der Begriffe)

10 The dangers of stagnation Die Ausgangspunkte der Kulturwissenschaften bleiben damit wandelbar in die grenzenlose Zukunft hinein, solange nicht chinesische Erstarrung des Geisteslebens die Menschheit entwöhnt, neue Fragen an das immer gleich unerschöpfliche Leben zu stellen. (GAW, 184) The points of departure for the cultural sciences are mutable throughout an endless future, so long as a Chinese ossification of intellectual life does not render mankind incapable of posing new questions to the eternal, inexhaustible life. (EW, 383)

11 The parliament as the model for the fair play To prevent academic stagnation in academic disputes an institutionalised prosedure for a fair play is needed The British Parliament since the late 18th century as the modern paradigm for the deliberative rhetoric pro et contra Weber an admirer of British parliamentarism and wanted to introduce it in Germany The parliamentary procedure as a an ideal type for a vision of knowledge consisting of interventions in debate and the fair regulations of the conditions of debate Link between the conceptions and persons through the fair debate

12 Hamilton, Parliamentary Logick (1808) William Gerard Hamilton, MP Parliamentary Logick published posthumously 1808 a rhetorical advice-book of maximes for the MPs a logic of debate everything disputable rhetorical strategies of conceptual rhetorical strategies of conceptual revision (cp. Quentin Skinner) – paradiastole: devaluationg the vices and disparaging the virtues amplification vs. reduction of the range of reference of concepts

13 Westminster in the rhetorical literature Parliamentary government as government by speaking (Macaulay 1857) or government by discussion (Bagehot 1872) Parliamentary oratory an inherent part of the 19th century Anglophone literature on rhetoric A tacit rhetorical dimension in the literature on the British parliamentary procedure (e.g. Bentham) Opposition between parliamentary and platform oratory – adversaries vs. adherents in the audience – procedural vs. informal mode of speaking The fair play with the distribution of the increasingly scarce speaking time

14 James De Mille, Elements of Rhetoric (1878) A Canadian professor of rhetoric The aim of parliamentary debate is to investigate the subject from many points of view which are presented from two contrary sides. In no other way can a subject be so exhaustively considered. (De Mille 1878, 473) links rhetoric and the parliamentary procedure a good expression of a parliamentary theory of knowledge - perspectivism - debate - a thorough treatment of the issue - debate a methodical principle

15 Weber on the rule of the officialdom Parlament und Regierung im neugeordneten Deutschland (1918) Webers situational analysis: universal tendency towards bureaucratisation The search for counterweights to the overwhelming bureaucratisation Monocratic knowledge of the officials Fachwissen Dienstwissen Geheimwissen

16 Weber on the parliamentary control of officials Cross-examinations of both the experts and the officials themselves by the parliamentarians Parliamentarians access to files (Akteneinsicht), carrying out on-the-spot- inspections (Augenscheineinnahme) Parliamentary commissions of inquiry (Enqueterecht) The rhetorical model of arguing pro et contra present in all these aspects Knowledge no possession but intervention in a debate The parliamentary control of officials also a confrontation between monocratic and parliamentary theories of knowledge

17 Stagnation vs. innovation No guarantee for innovation possible, only removing the obstacles to it Controversies as the main impetus for innovation The parliamentary procedure the closest approximation to the fair play Parliamentarians facing the opposed points of view with expectation to debate doomed to innovation Skinner: read Leviathan as it would be a speech in the parliament Identity the controversy to which a speech or text marks an innovation


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