Max Weber: can anarchists be legal scholars? (1913)

“Admittedly, attempts have been made to set certain limits on purely ‘logical’ grounds. One of our leading jurists explained on one occasion, when he was declaring himself against the exclusion of Socialists from university posts, that even he could at least not accept an ‘anarchist’ as a teacher of law, since an anarchist would deny the validity of laws as such; and he clearly thought this argument conclusive. I am of exactly the opposite opinion. An anarchist can certainly be a good legal scholar. And if he is, then it may be precisely that Archimedean point, as it were, outside the conventions and assumptions which seem to us so self-evident, at which his objective convictions (if they are genuine) place him, which equips him to recognise, in the axioms of conventional legal theory, certain fundamental problems which escape the notice of those who take them all too easily for granted. For the most radical doubt is the father of knowledge.”

= = =

from “Value-judgments in Social Science” in Max Weber: Selections in Translation, edited by W. G. Runciman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), p 75. This essay was originally a paper presented in 1913 and first published in 1917.

RADICAL ARCHIVES thanks Dana Williams for finding this quotation, which we had been looking for for years!

3 Responses to “Max Weber: can anarchists be legal scholars? (1913)”

  1. 1 Bob Black September 30, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Since I am an anarchist and I have been published nine times in law and law-related journals, including the American Journal of Jurisprudence, to me the answer is of course obvious. I have written on, for instance, victim participation in criminal sentencing, FIJA (instructing jurors that they can ignore the law the judge gives them, in the interests of justice), and the so-called “Constitutionalists” (precursors of the Tea Party). So, sure, it can be done. — Bob Black

  1. 1 Poumastica « Poumista Trackback on May 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm
  2. 2 Variousness 39 « Anti-National Translation Trackback on May 14, 2011 at 4:15 pm

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