Ideal Types as Hermeneutic Concepts

in Journal of the Philosophy of History
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



My paper sets out to demonstrate that Weber's ideal-typical theory of concept formation, subject to certain modifications, is compatible with the principles of philosophical hermeneutics and is therefore a valuable strategy of concept formation for interpretive historical inquiry. The essay begins with a brief recapitulation of the philosophical-hermeneutic approach to the human sciences. I then chart out the affinities as well as the discrepancies between philosophical hermeneutics and Weber's theory of the ideal type. Against this backdrop, I proceed to offer a number of correctives and additions to Weber's theory so as to tighten its fit with philosophical hermeneutics. First, I argue that the ideal type's proper logic of concept formation is a logic of significance rather than a logic of commonality. Second, I claim that the relationship between the various empirical cases to which a given ideal type is (or can be) applied is a Wittgensteinian relationship of family resemblance. Finally, I present two main kinds of epistemological functions that ideal types can fulfill within the framework of historical inquiry: argumentative and orientational-clarificatory.

Ideal Types as Hermeneutic Concepts

in Journal of the Philosophy of History


Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 23 23 2
Full Text Views 108 108 1
PDF Downloads 23 23 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0