Verstehen and Critical Theory
DOI link for Verstehen and Critical Theory
Verstehen and Critical Theory book
This chapter demonstrates that Jurgen Habermas's theory has other serious problems as well. Habermas suggests that Theodore Abel's interpretation of the connection between the success of a harvest and the frequency of marriage is problematic. Marriage does not need to be evaluated primarily as an economic burden and depends on "traditional notions of values and institutional roles". In any case, Abel is incorrect, according to Habermas, to suppose that advocates of Verstehen believed that it was a means of verifying the motivation of social actors. Verifying the validity of an interpretation is not achieved by Verstehen itself but is "subjected to test in the usual manner". Habermas sees the necessity of a rational approach to communicative action as crucial to the methodological difference between the natural and the social sciences. Habermas concludes that only a critique that "challenged the very need for subjective access to social facts would call into question the methodological principle of Verstehen".