SOCIOLOGY 461



GERMAN SOCIAL THEORY:
FROM FREUD TO HABERMAS


 

PROFESSOR GEORGE E. MCCARTHY

KENYON COLLEGE
TRELEAVEN HOUSE

SPRING 2014


DESCRIPTION OF COURSE

This seminar involves a critical examination of the evolution of German social theory in the twentieth century. Following a summary of the major tendencies and questions in social theory during the Weimar period, the course will consider the extent to which contemporary phenomenological, existential, hermeneutical, marxian, and neo-classical theory reflects or transcends its intellectual and political heritage. Readings will include the works of Cassirer, Dilthey, Schutz, Heidegger, Habermas, Gadamer, Arendt, and Jonas.


REQUIRED READINGS

F. Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy
T. Adorno, ed. The Positivist Dispute in German Sociology
S. Freud, Introduction to Psychoanalysis
M. Horkheimer, Eclipse of Reason
E. Fromm, Escape From Freedom
H. Gadamer, "The Problem of Historical Consciousness," in Interpretive
Social Science: A Reader
, ed. by P. Rabinow and W. Sullivan
H. Gadamer, "The Historicity of Understanding," in Critical Sociology,
ed. by Paul Connerton (On reserve)
J. Habermas, "A Review of Gadamer's Truth and Method," in
Understanding and Social Inquiry, ed. by F. Dallmayr and T. McCarthy
J. Habermas, Toward a Rational Society


RECOMMENDED READING

R. Bernstein, Beyond Objectivism and Relativism
D. Held, Introduction to Critical Theory: Horkheimer to Habermas
M. Jay, The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1923-1950
G. McCarthy, Romancing Antiquity: German Critique of the Enlightenment from Weber to Habermas


COURSE REQUIREMENTS

It is crucial, if this course is to be successful, that everyone participates in the general discussion. The final grade will be based on 1/3 class participation, 1/3 class presentation, and 1/3 research paper related to any theme in twentieth-century German social and political theory.


OVERVIEW OF SCHEDULE AND REQUIRED READINGS

Methodological Debates in Economics and Sociology in 19th and 20 Centuries:
Weber was a key player in the major methodological debates at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries: (1) the Methodenstreit (methodological debate) between members of the Austrian School of Economics led by Carl Menger and the German Historical School led by Wilhelm Roscher, Karl Knies, Gustav von Schmoller, and Weber; (2) the Werturteilsstreit (value judgment debate) among members of the Verein für Socialpolitik which included Werner Sombart and Gustav Schmoller; and (3) a third series of debates over the philosophy of the social sciences between the Southwest German (Baden) School of neo-Kantianism whose group included Wilhelm Windelband (Strassburg; distinction between idiographic and nomothetic sciences) and Heinrich Rickert (Strassburg, Freiburg, and Heidelberg) and scientific positivism which included Henri de Saint-Simon, Pierre-Simon Laplace, and Auguste Comte. A general summary of these three debates are outlined in various articles found in Wikipedia and Britannica Online.

Neo-Kantianism in Contemporary German Social Theory: Epistemology and Methodology
The Southwest School of neo-Kantianism had been preceded by the "Back to Kant" movement of the 1860s led by Kuno Fischer's Kant's Life and the Foundations of his Doctrine (1860), Friedrich Lange's History of Materialism (1866), and Hans Vaihinger, founder of the journal Kant-Studien (1897) and his Commentary on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (1922). Neo-Kantianism, whether the Baden School of Windelband and Rickert, the Marburg School of Paul Natorp, Hermann Cohen, and Ernst Cassirer, or the Existential Kantianism of Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche, had a profound impact on the later development of both critical philosophy and sociology, including:
Classical Social Theory of Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, and Sigmund Freud
Phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, Max Scheler, Georg Simmel, and Alfred Schutz
Existentialism of Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger (student of Husserl and Rickert at Freiburg)
Students of Heidegger at Marburg, including Karl Löwith, Hannah Arendt, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Hans Jonas, and Herbert Marcuse at Freiburg, as well as, debate over Kant between Heidegger and Cassirer
Christian Existentialism of Søren Kierkegaard, Paul Tillich, Rudolf Bultmann, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Karl Barth
Neo-Marxism of Karl Korsch and Georg Lukács
Hermeneutics (Subjective Meaning) of Aristotle, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Wilhelm Dilthey, Georg Simmel, Weber, and Hans-Georg Gadamer
Depth or Critical Hermeneutics (Objective or Structural Meaning) of Marx (structures, functions, and ideology of political economy), Freud (structures and functions of unconscious repression and psychoanalysis), Karl-Otto Apel, Alfred Lorenzer, Jürgen Habermas, and Paul Ricoeur
Critical Rationalism of Karl Popper and Hans Albert
Critical Theory of Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Marcuse, and Habermas
(Positivismusstreit with critical rationalism) and
Critique of Weber and continuation of the Werturteilsstreit and the Positivismusstreit at the German Sociological Congress in Heidelberg (1964) by Horkheimer, Habermas, Marcuse, and Parsons.

 WEEK

1. Introduction Introduction and Overview of the Course
2. Sigmund Freud Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, chapters/lectures 6-14 and 16-19,
pp. 100-229 and 257-302
3. Friedrich Nietzsche The Birth of Tragedy, pp. 1-69
4. Friedrich Nietzsche The Birth of Tragedy, pp. 69-146
5. Max Horkheimer Eclipse of Reason, pp. 3-91
6. Max Horkheimer Eclipse of Reason, pp. 92-187
7. Karl Popper "The Logic of the Social Sciences," in The Positivist Dispute in German Sociology,
pp. 87-104
Theodore Adorno "Sociology and Empirical Research," in The Positivist Dispute in German Sociology, pp. 68-86
8. Erich Fromm Escape from Freedom
9. Hannah Arendt On Revolution
10 Hans-Georg Gadamer "The Problem of Historical Consciousness," in Interpretive Social Science,
pp. 103-160
11. Hans-Georg Gadamer "The Historicity of Understanding," in Critical Sociology, pp. 117-133
Jürgen Habermas "A Review of Gadamer's Truth and Method," in Understanding and Social Inquiry,
pp. 335-363
12. Herbert Marcuse One-Dimensional Man, pp. 1-120
13. Herbert Marcuse One-Dimensional Man, pp. 123-257
14. Jürgen Habermas "Technology and Science as `Ideology,'" in Toward a Rational Society

THE LECTURES PRESENTED IN THIS COURSE ARE ON DIGITAL AUDIO DVD DISKS
AND HARD DRIVES IN THE KENYON COLLEGE LIBRARY ARCHIVES.