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From max weber essays in sociology citation

His father, Max Sr. His mother, Helene, came from the Fallenstein and Souchay families, both of the long illustrious Huguenot line, which had for generations produced public servants and academicians. His younger brother, Alfred, was an influential political economist and sociologist, too. Also, his parents represented two, often conflicting, poles of identity between which their eldest son would struggle throughout his life — worldly statesmanship and ascetic scholarship.

Educated mainly at the universities of Heidelberg and Berlin, Weber was trained in law, eventually writing his Habilitationsschrift on Roman law and agrarian history under August Meitzen, a prominent political economist of the time. Greeted upon publication with high acclaim and political controversy, this early success led to his first university appointment at Freiburg in 1894 to be followed by a prestigious professorship in political economy at Heidelberg two years later.

Weber was also active in public life as he continued to play an important role as a Young Turk in the Verein and maintain a close association with the liberal Evangelische-soziale Kongress especially with the leader of its younger generation, Friedrich Naumann.

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It was during this time that he first established a solid reputation as a brilliant political economist and outspoken public intellectual. His routine as a teacher and scholar was interrupted so badly that he eventually withdrew from regular teaching duties in 1903, to which he would not return until 1919.

Although severely compromised and unable to write as prolifically as before, he still managed to immerse himself in the study of various philosophical and religious topics, which resulted in a new direction in his scholarship as the publication of miscellaneous methodological essays as well as The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 1904—1905 testifies. Also noteworthy about this period is his extensive visit to America in 1904, which left an indelible trace in his understanding of modernity in general [Scaff 2011].

After this stint essentially as a private scholar, he slowly resumed his participation in various academic and public activities.

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At first a fervent nationalist supporter of the war, as virtually all German intellectuals of the time were, he grew disillusioned with the German war policies, eventually refashioning himself as one of the most vocal critics of the Kaiser government in a time of war. As a public intellectual, he issued private reports to government leaders and wrote journalistic pieces to warn against the Belgian annexation policy and the unlimited submarine warfare, which, as the war deepened, evolved into a call for overall democratization of the authoritarian state that was Wilhelmine Germany.

By 1917, Weber was campaigning vigorously for a wholesale constitutional reform for post-war Germany, including the introduction of universal suffrage and the empowerment of parliament. When defeat came in 1918, Germany found in Weber a public intellectual leader, even possibly a future statesman, with relatively solid liberal democratic credentials who was well-positioned to influence the course of post-war reconstruction. He was invited to join the draft board of the Weimar Constitution as well as the German delegation to Versaille; albeit in vain, he even ran for a parliamentary seat on the liberal Democratic Party ticket.

In those capacities, however, he opposed the German Revolution all too sensibly and the Versaille Treaty all too quixotically alike, putting himself in an unsustainable position that defied the partisan alignments of the day. By all accounts, his political activities bore little fruit, except his advocacy for a robust plebiscitary presidency in the Weimar Constitution.

Frustrated with day-to-day politics, he turned to his scholarly pursuits with renewed vigour. All these reinvigorated scholarly activities ended abruptly in 1920, however, when he succumbed to the Spanish flue and died suddenly of pneumonia in Munich.

Max Weber was fifty six years old. Philosophical Influences Putting Weber in the context of philosophical tradition proper is not an easy task. For all the astonishing variety of identities that can be ascribed to him as a scholar, he was certainly no philosopher at least in the narrow sense of the term.

His reputation as a Solonic legislator of modern social science also tends to cloud our appreciation of the extent to which his ideas were embedded in the intellectual tradition of the time.

In other words, Weber belonged to a generation of self-claimed epigones who had to struggle with the legacies of Darwin, Marx, and Nietzsche. As such, the philosophical backdrop to his thoughts will be outlined here along two axes: Neo-Kantianism Weber encountered the pan-European cultural crisis of his time mainly as filtered through the jargon of From max weber essays in sociology citation Historicism [Beiser 2011].

Arguably, however, it was not until Weber grew acquainted with the Baden or Southwestern School of Neo-Kantians, especially through Wilhelm Windelband, Emil Lask, and Heinrich Rickert his one-time colleague at Freiburgthat he found a rich conceptual template suitable for the clearer elaboration of his own epistemological position.

In opposition to a Hegelian emanationist epistemology, briefly, Neo-Kantians shared the Kantian dichotomy between reality and concept. Not an emanent derivative of concepts as Hegel posited, reality is irrational and incomprehensible, and the concept, only an abstract construction of our mind.

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Nor is the concept a matter of will, intuition, and subjective consciousness as Wilhelm Dilthey posited. According to Hermann Cohen, one of the early Neo-Kantians, concept formation is fundamentally a cognitive process, which cannot but be rational as Kant held. If our cognition is logical and all reality exists within cognition, then only a reality that we can comprehend in the form of knowledge is rational — metaphysics is thereby reduced to epistemology, and Being to logic.

As such, the process of concept formation both in the natural Natur- and the cultural-historical sciences Geisteswissenshaften has to be universal as well as abstract, not different in kind but in their subject matters.

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The latter is only different in dealing with the question of values in addition to logical relationships. For Windelband, however, the difference between the two kinds of knowledge has to do with its aim and method as well. Cultural-historical knowledge is not concerned with a phenomenon because of what it shares with other phenomena, but rather because of its own definitive qualities.

For values, which form its proper subject, are radically subjective, concrete and individualistic. Turning irrational reality into rational concept, it does not simply paint abbilden a picture of reality but transforms umbilden it.

Occupying the gray area between irrational reality and rational concept, then, its question became twofold for the Neo-Kantians.

One is in what way we can understand the irreducibly subjective values held by the historical actors in an objective fashion, and the other, by what criteria we can select a certain historical phenomenon as opposed to another as historically significant subject matter worthy of our attention. Value-judgment Werturteil as well as value Wert became a keen issue. In so positing, however, Rickert is making two highly questionable assumptions. One is that there are certain values in every culture that are universally accepted within that culture as valid, and the other, that a historian free of bias must agree on what these values are.

An empirical study in historical science, in the end, cannot do without a metaphysics of history. Kant and Nietzsche German Idealism seems to have exerted another enduring influence on Weber, discernible in his ethical worldview more than in his epistemological position. This was the strand of Idealist discourse in which a broadly Kantian ethic and its Nietzschean critique figure prominently. The way in which Weber understood Kant seems to have come through the conceptual template set by moral psychology and philosophical anthropology.

In conscious opposition to the utilitarian-naturalistic justification of modern individualism, Kant viewed moral action as simultaneously principled and self-disciplined and expressive of genuine freedom and autonomy. On this Kantian view, freedom and autonomy are to be found in the instrumental control of the self and the world objectification according to a law formulated solely from within subjectification.

Furthermore, such a paradoxical from max weber essays in sociology citation is made possible by an internalization or willful acceptance of a transcendental rational principle, which saves it from falling prey to the hedonistic subjectification that Kant found in Enlightenment naturalism and which he so detested. Kant in this regard follows Rousseau in condemning utilitarianism; instrumental-rational control of the world in the service of our desires and needs just degenerates into organized egoism.

Instrumental transformation of the self is thus the crucial benchmark of autonomous moral agency for Kant as well as for Locke, but its basis has been fundamentally altered in Kant; it should be done with the purpose of serving a higher end, that is, the universal law of reason.

All in all, one might say that: Weber was keenly aware from max weber essays in sociology citation the fact that the Kantian linkage between growing self-consciousness, the possibility of universal law, and principled and thus free action had been irrevocably severed.

Kant managed to preserve the precarious duo of non-arbitrary action and subjective freedom by asserting such a linkage, which Weber believed to be unsustainable in his allegedly Nietzschean age. Although they deeply informed his thoughts to an extent still under-appreciated, his main preoccupation lay elsewhere. He was after all one of the founding fathers of modern social science. GARS forms a more coherent whole since its editorial edifice was the work of Weber himself; and yet, its relationship to his other sociologies of, for instance, law, city, music, domination, and economy, remains controvertible.

Accordingly, his overarching theme has also been variously surmised as a developmental history of Western rationalism Wolfgang Schluchterthe universal history of rationalist culture Friedrich Tenbruckor simply the Menschentum as it emerges and degenerates in modern rational society Wilhelm Hennis. The first depicts Weber as a comparative-historical sociologist; the second, a latter-day Idealist historian of culture reminiscent of Jacob Burckhardt; and the third, a political philosopher on a par with Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau.

Important as they are for in-house Weber scholarship, however, these philological disputes need not hamper our attempt to grasp the gist of his ideas.

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Suffice it for us to recognize that, albeit with varying degrees of emphasis, these different interpretations all converge on the thematic centrality of rationality, rationalism, and rationalization in making sense of Weber.

A child of modern European civilization Kulturwelt who studies problems of universal history shall inevitably and justfiably raise the question Fragestellung: Taken together, then, the rationalization process as Weber narrated it seems quite akin to a metahistorical teleology that irrevocably sets the West apart from and indeed above the East.

At the same time, nonetheless, Weber adamantly denied the possibility of a universal law of history in his methodological essays. It was meant as a comparative-conceptual platform on which to erect the edifying features of rationalization in the West.

If merely a heuristic device and not a universal law of progress, then, what is rationalization and whence comes his uncompromisingly dystopian vision? For instance, modern capitalism is a rational mode of economic life because it depends on a calculable process of production. This search for exact calculability underpins such institutional innovations as monetary accounting especially double-entry bookkeepingcentralization of production control, separation of workers from the means of production, supply of formally free labour, disciplined control on the factory floor, and other features that make modern capitalism qualitatively different from all other modes of organizing economic life.

  • Roth intro , New Brunswick;
  • It requires some knowledge of the ideational and material circumstances in which our action is embedded, since to act rationally is to act on the basis of conscious reflection about the probable consequences of action;
  • It is too formal to be an Aristotelean virtue ethics, and it is too concerned with moral character to be a Kantian deontology narrowly understood;
  • According to Weber, a clear value commitment, no matter how subjective, is both unavoidable and necessary;
  • Giddens intro , London;
  • All in all, one might say that:

The enhanced calculability of the production process is also buttressed by that in non-economic spheres such as law and administration. Legal formalism and bureaucratic management reinforce the elements of predictability in the sociopolitical environment that encumbers industrial capitalism by means of introducing formal equality of citizenship, a rule-bound legislation of legal norms, an autonomous judiciary, and a depoliticized professional bureaucracy.

Further, all this calculability and predictability in political, social, and economic spheres was not possible without changes of values in ethics, religion, psychology, and culture.

The outcome of this complex interplay of ideas and interests was modern rational Western civilization with its enormous material and cultural capacity for relentless world-mastery. Rational action in one very general sense presupposes knowledge. It requires some knowledge of the ideational and material circumstances in which our action is embedded, since to act rationally is to act on the basis of conscious reflection about the probable consequences of action.

  • As such, the knowledge that underpins a rational action is of a causal nature conceived in terms of means-ends relationships, aspiring towards a systematic, logically interconnected whole;
  • His younger brother, Alfred, was an influential political economist and sociologist, too;
  • On the one hand, he followed Windelband in positing that historical and cultural knowledge is categorically distinct from natural scientific knowledge;
  • Once different, too, was the mode of society constituted by and in turn constitutive of this type of moral agency;
  • Weber, for instance, observed:

As such, the knowledge that underpins a rational action is of a causal nature conceived in terms of means-ends relationships, aspiring towards a systematic, logically interconnected whole. Modern scientific and technological knowledge is a culmination of this process that Weber called intellectualization, in the course of which, the germinating grounds of human knowledge in the past, such as religion, theology, and metaphysics, were slowly pushed back to the realm of the superstitious, mystical, or simply irrational.

It is only in modern Western civilization, according to Weber, that this gradual process of disenchantment Entzauberung has reached its radical conclusion. Rationalization, according to Weber, entails objectification Versachlichung. For another, having abandoned the principle of Khadi justice i. Modern individuals are subjectified and objectified all at once. Scientific and technical rationalization has greatly improved both the human capacity for a mastery over nature and institutionalized discipline via bureaucratic administration, legal formalism, and industrial capitalism.

Second, and more important, its ethical ramification for Weber is deeply ambivalent. On the one hand, exact calculability and predictability in the social environment that formal rationalization has brought about dramatically enhances individual freedom by helping individuals understand and navigate through the complex web of practice and institutions in order to realize the ends of their own choice.

Thus his famous lament in the Protestant Ethic: Modern Western society is, Weber seems to say, once again enchanted as from max weber essays in sociology citation result of disenchantment. How did this happen from max weber essays in sociology citation with what consequences? Disenchantment had ushered in monotheistic religions in the West.

In practice, this means that ad hoc maxims for life-conduct had been gradually displaced by a unified total system of meaning and value, which historically culminated in the Puritan ethic of vocation. Here, the irony was that disenchantment was an ongoing process nonetheless. Disenchantment in its second phase pushed aside monotheistic religion as something irrational, thus delegitimating it as a unifying worldview in the modern secular world.

Why should one do something which in reality never comes to an end and never can? In short, modern science has relentlessly deconstructed other sources of value-creation, in the course of which its own meaning has also been dissipated beyond repair. Irretrievably gone as a result is a unifying worldview, be it religious or scientific, and what ensues is its fragmentation into incompatible value spheres. Weber, for instance, observed: Weber is, then, not envisioning a peaceful dissolution of the grand metanarratives of monotheistic religion and universal science into a series of local narratives and the consequent modern pluralist culture in which different cultural practices follow their own immanent logic.

His vision of polytheistic reenchantment is rather that of an incommensurable value-fragmentation into a plurality of alternative metanarratives, each of which claims to answer the same metaphysical questions that religion and science strove to cope with in their own ways.