Andreas H. Hvidsten: A wasted opportunity: a critical reading of a critical reading

En forspilt mulighet: In this essay, I consider a recent anthology devoted to the works of Hans Skjervheim. The central thesis of Skjervheim’s work is that objectification of human beings and society in general has principled limitations. These limitations are highly relevant for the project of creating a social science. However, this problematic has largely been ignored or misunderstood within the social sciences themselves. Unfortunately, the authors of this recent anthology continue that tradition. I argue, that they fail to do justice to Skjervheim’s philosophy by not explicitly addressing his central concern: that the foundational issues in social science inevitably leads into the realm of ideology—and that the only way to get a sure footing in this realm is through dialectical thinking. As it stands, the anthology does not continue Skjervheim’s project, nor does it level any effective criticisms against it. For this reason the anthology is largely a wasted opportunity to engage with a thinker who still has much to offer.

Keywords: Skjervheim, objectivism, social science, dialectic