Academic journal article Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics

The Language of Max Weber. A Sociological Enquiry (in German: Die Sprache Max Webers. eine Soziologische Untersuchung)

Academic journal article Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics

The Language of Max Weber. A Sociological Enquiry (in German: Die Sprache Max Webers. eine Soziologische Untersuchung)

Article excerpt

When Max Weber entered the field of historical and economical research, he might have felt like entering a battlefield. There had been a lot of fighting about the methodology of economics in nineteenth century Germany and Austria, both between historical (Roscher) and abstract approaches (Menger), as well as within these currents themselves.

In the German speaking world, economists had to defend their right to study their own discipline using their own conceptual means. Even philologists like August Boeckh claimed that they should be the ones who had to study economics-at least the one of Ancient times. But more importantly, the historians from the historicist school had founded their own discipline of narrative economic studies following Ranke's teaching of how scholars should consider historical events, and how the single episodes of human history are connected. According to them, in the end, divine providence is governing the whole of history and every single episode. Authors like Wilhelm Roscher were firmly convinced that the economy should be considered with these tools of historiography.

My doctoral thesis about the language of Max Weber analyzes how Weber tried to find his own particular position between economy, history, and psychology (all of these had pertained to the field of philosophy), and how in the end he founded his own discipline, interpretative sociology, and why this branch of human knowledge remains linked to his name and his written works. The examination follows Weber's most important publications from his doctoral thesis to the end. it does so by analyzing his writings pragmatically and with constant reference to the social field in which Weber moves. The surprising fact is that Weber succeeded in founding his sociology without being member of a university. He acts as author, as editor, as advisor to colleagues and as founding member of the German sociological society (DGS) without any institutional backing.

In Seiffarth's analysis we can see how, between 1900 and 1904, Weber, originally a student of Roscher and Mommsen, distanced himself from the historicist school by evidencing the religious foundation of its teachings. By doing so, Weber believed that he had eliminated Hegel and Marx as well. …

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