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Werturteilsstreit (Value Judgment Dispute)

The Werturteilsstreit is part of the methodological controversies dominating the historical social and cultural sciences, especially in Germany, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The central issue was the problem of whether those sciences were legitimated and able to derive ultimate and universally binding value judgments (Werturteile) from their empirical findings and explanations.

The most important advocate of a value-free social science in this sense was Max Weber. At the same time, however, he stressed that as far as the selection and forming (“Auswahl und Formung”) of their subjects is concerned, no science could do without a value relevance (Wertbeziehung) and that values and judgments are of course an important issue of the cultural sciences.

The most determined criticism of the postulate of value ...

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