- 京都社会学年報 : KJS = Kyoto journal of sociology
- vol.23, pp.55-74, 2015-12-25
A purpose of this article is to articulate what Niklas Luhmann's political theory attempted by critically reviewing Stefan Lange's Niklas Luhmanns Theorie der Politik: Eine Abklärung der Staatsgesellschaft, 2003. In part 2 of this article, the author examines Lange's evaluation that Luhmann's argument contains normative biases, especially a preference for functional differentiation behind his valuational diagnoses and advice to concrete political practices, and therefore fails his coherent systems theory and "scientific" discussion. The author conversely argues that Luhmann's argument does not deviate from his framework and scientific discussion for the following reasons. First, Luhmann not only evaluates functional differentiation as a form compatible to more massive complexity than others but also he pointed out its negative consequences, such as escalating ecological destruction, alienation of human beings from society, etc. Therefore, he does not normatively prefer functional differentiation. Second, Luhmann's frameworks such as evolutionary theory and that of operational closure are not incompatible to giving valuation and advice but that the latter is embedded in former. On the one hand, his evolutionary theory contains valuational aspects in terms of both the positive function of certain "evolutionary achievement" as problem solving and its negative consequence that may promote further evolutionary processes. On the other hand, the idea of operational closure never excludes giving advice as a form of "structural coupling" between scientific and political systems. Third, Luhmann's valuational diagnoses and advice to political practice does not deviate from Max Weber's argument on "scientific criticism of value judgments." Luhmann analyzes other factual possibilities of political practices and he evaluates the factual function or effectiveness of political practice for such political systems based on an idea of the plurality of "system reference." Furthermore, he examines the question how far certain practice accommodates the given conditions of a political system and is realizable. This "realistic" view in evaluation is compatible to the scientific condition that Weber argued. For these reasons, Luhmann's argument is not deviant from his systems theory and general scientific discussion. The article concludes that Luhmann attempted to construct scientific and practical political theory that can evaluate certain political practices without adopting certain normative evaluation scales.