Science and Action
THE SCIENCES of culture—history and sociology—propose to understand human productions which create values or are defined with reference to values. It might be said that science is a rational activity whose goal is to arrive at judgments of fact which will be universally valid. The problem, therefore, is to know how one can formulate judgments of fact which are universally valid about works defined as creations of values.
The solution to the problem lies in the distinction between value judgment (Werturteil) and value reference (Wertbeziehung). The political man, the citizen, for example, believes that freedom in one sense or another is an essential value. The statement that freedom in general, or a given freedom like freedom of speech or thought, is a fundamental value is a judgment that expresses the personality of the man who makes it. Another person is free to reject this judgment and to believe that freedom of speech is not very important. To say that value judgments are personal and subjective is to allow that one is entitled to recognize freedom of speech as a positive or a negative value, a primary or a secondary value, a value that should be safeguarded above all or one that can be subordinated or sacrificed to some other consideration.