Historical Causality and Sociological Causality:
The Ideal Types
SCIENCE, AS Max Weber conceives it, has universal truth for its objective; but historical or sociological science begins with a procedure that depends upon the personality and situation of the observer, his frame of reference, the way he organizes the material as a result of values previously established or discovered in the material itself. If the objective of universal truth is to be attained, therefore, the subjectively conditioned frame of reference must be followed by procedures of universal validity.
These procedures begin with an attempt to demonstrate propositions of fact or of causal relations. The causal relations are of two types: historical causality, that is, analysis of the influence exerted by the various antecedents of a particular and unique event; and sociological causality, that is, regular connection or consecutiveness between one term and another.
I started to explain the procedure for arriving at historical causality, an essential step of which is the re-creation of what would have happened if one of the antecedents had not occurred or had been other than it was. In other words, I showed why and how construction of the unreal was a necessary method of understanding how events had