There is a passage in one of Max Weber’s great essays on the methodology of the social sciences which is pertinent to our discussion. In it Weber is struggling to define with absolute rigor and clarity his difficult notion of the “ideal type.” He is trying to demonstrate that this notion or analytical construct “has no connection at all with value-judgments,” and that further “it has nothing to do with any type of perfection other than a purely logical one.” To illustrate the distinction he has in mind, Weber states that “there are ideal types of brothels as well as of religions”; and he goes on to say that there are even “ideal types of those kinds of brothels which are technically ‘expedient’ from the point of view of police ethics as well as those of which the exact opposite” holds true. The writer or scholar who undertakes to discuss pornography has in effect made a contract to construct an ideal type of a brothel—and he has in addition contracted to maintain the distinctions that Weber established. This is not a simple task, as Weber himself was quick to recognize. On the one hand, he states, we must guard ourselves against such “crude misunderstandings ... as the opinion that cultural significance should be attributed only to valuable phenomena. Prostitution is a cultural phenomenon just as much as religion or money.” At the same time, and on the other hand, he continues, prostitution, religion, and money “are cultural phenomena only because and only insofar as their existence and the form which they historically assume touch directly or indirectly on our cultural interests and arouse our striving for knowledge concerning problems brought into focus by the evaluative ideas which give significance to the fragment of reality analyzed by those concepts.” Weber’s strained and circling syntax attests to the difficulty of keeping these two fields of discourse distinct. Our interests and our values inevitably dictate our choice of subjects—the significance we attribute to any fragment of reality that we subject to analysis has its point of origin and reference in a realm external to the analysis itself. Nevertheless, in the course of analysis we must dissociate ourselves, as much as possible, from those very values that informed our choice of a subject to begin with. This is not altogether possible, in practice if not in logic—although I believe it to be logically impossible as well. Which is to say that in the social sciences, as much as in literary criticism, the problem of judgment remains central, unyielding, and full of impossible demands. That these demands are impossible in no way rules out the necessity that they be fulfilled.