This project belongs to the following research constellations:
Josef Früchtl & Johan Hartle
Staff: Josef Früchtl, Johan Hartle, Christian Skirke, Bert van der Schoot, Anders Johanssen
PhD’s: Johan de Jong, Matthé Scholten, Fanne Boland, Eric Boot, Alexander Jackob, Christine Taylor
For a long time the natural sciences delivered the model for answering the question: what is scientific thinking? Nowadays it seems to be clear that the unity of science is a myth because there is neither a common method nor a common object of all sciences. And this is true also for the sciences called ‚humanities'.
What are the alternatives? The most simple alternative would be a methodological anarchism (Feyerabend, Rorty). ‘Anything goes' and ‘let thousand flowers flourish' sounds like an attractive counter-method. Close to anarchism but not that ‘radical' is methodological pluralism. There are many methods between the only one and infinitely many. Here, in the space between unity and anarchy, absolutism and relativism, the interesting part of discussion opens up. It is the space of differentiation and inter-rationality that allows to distinguish between certain ‘forms of rationality', ‘ways of arguing', ‘conceptual families'. And it is within that space where natural sciences and humanities meet because since Quine and Putnam pluralism can be seen as the characteristic for the so-called strong sciences as well.
What does this mean for cultural theory? Since the second half of the 18th century the concept of culture explicitly is connected with the consciousness of contingency. The motto is: ‘everything also could be different.' Against that background four concepts of culture and correlative models of cultural theory can be set apart:
Based on that historical and implicitly political perspective the old question of Critical Theory can be reformulated as well in which way culture and criticism are associated with each other internally. Criticism has not to be added externally to culture, the two concepts rather rely on each other. Against that theoretical background we would like to (re-)discuss central texts of Critical Theory in relation to the question of method in the humanities.