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Portis is partly right. Yet he is also partly wrong. He accurately portrays Weber's first-level view that denies the existence of either positive or natural law, affirming the fact-value dichotomy: "The categories through which social phenomena are perceived must be radically subjective, derived from priorities that the investigator brings to work rather than universal laws discovered through systematic observation." Portis, however, soon goes astray -- or just does not go far enough -- in characterizing Weber's view of the fact-value dichotomy: "Because these categories are antecedent to social scientific analysis, social problems cannot be scientifically resolved." True, Weber would agree, categories must be established prior to analysis. Once established, these categories also entail ends, and it is by working objectively toward those ends that allows the social scientist to resolve a given social problem scientifically.

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Did Weber believe that, even though facts are one thing and values another, social and economic facts could be evaluated without the analysis being influenced by values? And what is the relation of objectivity to values? Could objectivity, for instance, be used to show that one value is superior to another? Or does objectivity apply only to the analysis of facts? Do one's values or perspective stem from human nature, metaphysical views, personal identity, or is it just as likely that they are a mere construct of culture?

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These questions, and others like them, underlie much that has been considered ambiguous in Max Weber's writings: His methodology. Since his death, sociologists and political scientists have been disputing where Weber stood with regard to questions concerning the relationship of objectivity to facts and values. "Most of Weber's commentators," Edward Bryan Portis writes, "have assumed his advocacy of the fact-value dichotomy, despite his explicit and implicit assertions to the contrary, because of his numerous statements denying the ability of science to refute any normative position or to help one choose among contending normative orientations." Indeed, hardly a scholarly piece is written on Weber, it seems, without the preamble that Weber's views on this subject have been widely misunderstood, with the implication that the scholar at hand intends to finally set the record straight.

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Portis, Max Weber and Political Commitment, p. 15.

Prerequisite: PSYC 100. Recommended: PSYC 300. An examination of the interplay of individual, ethnic, and cultural factors in psychosocial growth and well-being. The aim is to apply analysis of cultural factors to make decisions, solve problems, and communicate effectively. Issues of globalization, diversity, cultural bias, and cross-ethnic communication are addressed.

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Brubaker, The Limits of Rationality , p. 54.

The argument by extension notwithstanding, there is other evidence that Weber held the social scientist's values to be a subjective matter. Portis, for instance, says Weber "believed it impossible to justify ultimate values scientifically. He presumed they were derived from the metaphysical commitments that define one's general outlook." Rogers Brubaker, in The Limits of Rationality, also acknowledges that Weber's discussion of value orientations amplifies those of a long line of ethical relativists. Weber believed that "value orientations are essentially subjective, and that conflict among them cannot be rationally resolved."

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(Fulfills the general education requirement in communications.) Practice in effective writing and clear thinking at all levels, including the sentence and paragraph, with emphasis on the essay and the integration of research into one's writing. A review of grammar is provided. The objective is to apply specific steps within the writing process, including formulating purpose, identifying an audience, and selecting and using research resources and methods of development. Emphasis is on revising essays and applying a recursive writing process. Assignments require the application of various rhetorical patterns, including narrative, comparison-contrast, and cause-effect analysis, and the integration of sources in APA format. Students may receive credit for only one of the following courses: ENGL 101, ENGL 101X, WRTG 101, WRTG 101S, or WRTG 101X.