Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Max Weber, Nietzschean

This short article on Weber perfectly captures both why I was repelled by Max Weber when I first read him (the weird Parsonian attempt to make him into an anti-Marxist proto-Modernization theorist, which remains the dominant American way to read Weber), and also why the more I read Weber, the more I've come to appreciate his profound, tragic vision of modernity, rooted in the Nietzschean insight that rationalism rests on a foundation of irrationality.

Moreover, Weber's vision of the role of ideas in history -- what the author describes as "the still-difficult-to-articulate claim that ideas have their effect not because of their logical properties, but through the psychologies and personalities they spawn" -- seems to me exactly right.

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