Religion and the Rise of Modern Science and Economic Rationality

Religion and the Rise of Modern Science and Economic Rationality

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Kyle Caputo November 7, 2007 Introduction to Sociology Honors Professor Lehman / TA Owen Whooley In “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism,” Max Weber outlines his argument about the strong similitude between the ethoses of ascetic Protestantism in 17 th century Europe and modern capitalism. Weber argues that a rational and systematic approach to life among Protestants, especially Calvinists, was generated by their religious dogmas, including the concept of the “calling” and the logically consistent doctrine of predestination. By establishing that God, in his omnipotence and omniscience, had preordained who among humans was saved and who was damned, Calvin concluded that no human activity could possibly affect his decision and thus all superstitious sacraments or rituals would be unnecessary and indeed sacrilegious. Additionally, in the notion of the Protestant “calling,” a person was said to have some purpose which God had decided for him which he would manifest by engaging actively in the world in some specific vocation. The roles of emotion, magic, and religious revelation were de-
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This note was uploaded on 04/14/2008 for the course SOCI V93.002 taught by Professor Lehman during the Fall '08 term at NYU.

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Religion and the Rise of Modern Science and Economic Rationality

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