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Max Weber

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Max Weber

Perry 1 Max Weber The German social scientist Max Weber was a founder of modern sociological thought. His historical and comparative studies of the great civilizations are a landmark in the history of sociology. The work of Max Weber reflects a continued interest in charting the varying paths taken by universal cultural history as reflected in the development of the world great civilizations. In this sense, he wish to attempt a historical and analytical study of the themes sounded so strongly in G.W.F. Hegel’s philosophy of history, especially the theme, which Weber took as his own. Along with this emphasis on universal cultural history, Weber’s detailed training as a legal and economic base and corresponding cultural superstructure that were so often used to account for cultural development and were a strong part of the intellectual environment of Weber’s early years as a student and professor. His historical and comparative awareness required that he go beyond both the Hegelian and Marxian versions of historical development toward a deep historical and comparative study of sociocultural processes in West and East. Weber was born on April 21, 1864, the son of a lawyer active in political life. Weber read widely in the classics and was bored with the unchallenging secondary education of his time, which he studied law, along with history, economics, and philosophy. Weber also served time in the military which he felt was incredible waste of Perry 2 Max Weber time. He resume his studies at the universities of Berlin and Gottingen in 1884, he passed his bar examination in 1886 and would practiced lax for a time. He completed his doctoral thesis in 1889 with an essay on the history of the medieval trading companies, which embodied his interests in both legal and economic history. In 1893, Max Weber married Marianne Schnitger. Following that, he was a professor at Freiburg University. Shortly after his father death, Weber began to suffer from a psychic disturbance that incapacitated him almost until 1902. By the next year, he was well enough to join Werner Sombrat in editing the two of the most prominent German social science journal of the period. Having assumed his full workload again, Weber begins to write perhaps his most renowned essays, published under the title The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Max Weber’s original theory on the rise of Capitalism in Western Europe has been an often-studied theory. In its relationship to Protestantism, specifically Calvinism, Weber theory has been in scholarly debate since 1904. The Protestant Ethic and the Sprit of Capitalism puts forth not capitalism as an institute, but as the precursor to the historical organs of capitalism. Weber’s attempts to use statistical data, as well s church doctrine to prove his theory. This has been the foundation for the main arena of debate among his peers. Perry 3 Max Weber Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the spirit of Capitalism is a study of relationship between the ethics of ascetic Protestantism and the emergence of the spirit of modern capitalism. Weber argues that religious ideas of groups such as the Calvinists played a role in creating the capitalistic spirit. Weber first observed a correlation between being Protestant and being involved in business, and declares his intent to explore religion as a potential cause of the modern economic conditions. He argues that the modern spirit of capitalism sees profit as an end in itself, and pursuing profit as virtuous. Weber’s goal is to understand the source of this spirit. He turns to Protestantism for a potential explanation. Protestantism offers a concept of the worldly calling and gives worldly activity a religious character. While this alone cannot explain the need to pursue profit. One branch of Protestantism, Calvinism, does provide this explanation. Calvinist believes in predestination ---- that God has already determined who is saved and damned. As Calvinism developed, a deep psychological need for clues about whether one was actually saved arose, and Calvinism looked to their success in worldly activity for those clues. Thus, they came to value profit and material success as signs of God’s favor. Other religious groups, such as the Pietists, Methodists, and the Baptist sects had similar attitudes to a lesser degree. Weber argues that this new attitude broke down the tradition Perry 4 Max Weber Values, economic system, paving the way for modern capitalism. However, once capitalism emerged, the Protestant values were no longer necessary, and their ethic took on a life of its own. We were now locked into the spirit of capitalism because it is so useful for modern economic activity.(Encyclopedia of World Biography) Throughout his book, Weber emphasizes that his account is incomplete. He is not arguing that Protestantism caused the capitalism spirit, but rather that it was one contributing factor. He also acknowledges

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