Weber_Mar21

Weber_Mar21 - 1 SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of Sociological...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: 1 SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of Sociological Theory Max Weber Key Points: What is the rationale behind the interpretative method advocated by Weber? What are ideal types in sociology, and how are they different from sociological laws? 2 Brief biography of Max Weber 1864: Born in the suburbs of Berlin Studied law, economics, history, theology 1903: co-editor of what became the leading social science journal in Germany 1905: publication of The Protestant Ethic Most of his work published posthumously 1920: Died of pneumonia in Munich Positivism vs. Hermeneutics (Interpretivism) Whereas Durkheim, following Comte, worked in the positivist tradition, Weber created and worked in the antipositivist, hermeneutic, tradition. This is the beginning of the antipositivistic revolution in social sciences, which stresses the difference between the social sciences and natural sciences, especially due to the nature of human social actions. Social sciences vs. Natural sciences Social sciences differ from the natural sciences in one fundamental respect: while nature is meaningless, human action is meaningful. Physicists can explain why an apple fell from a tree by noting that the cause was a certain gravitational force. In contrast, to impute what an individual means to do is to characterize his actions, i.e. to discern the intentions on the part of the agent. This is the only way a social scientist can tell a story of what exactly happened. 3 The problem of method in sociology Weber brings out the importance of meaning for social science by asking the reader to imagine two men who in other respects stand outside any social relationship. These two men exchange two objects, as evidenced by certain physical movements. But, Weber stresses, to follow just the physical events would not be to grasp the essence of what happened. For this essence consists in the meaning which the two men attach to this external behavior, and this meaning attached to their present behavior in turn represents the following of a rule in their future behavior. Without this meaning, an exchange would be neither possible in reality nor conceivable as a concept. The problem of method in sociology (continued) The characterization of social action is necessary for the social scientist to make sense of the physical events he observes. Weber maintains that this procedure of assigning meaning to individuals is objective. By objectivity, he does not mean that there is a single correct meaning, something which the person ought to have meant by their actions. Rather, social science is objective in the sense that the meaning assigned should not be arbitrary. It must be true for all those who seek the truth. The problem of method in sociology (continued) Weber argued that any explanation of social events must also contain an understanding of their meaning, of the concepts the actors have of themselves and their...
View Full Document

Page1 / 9

Weber_Mar21 - 1 SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of Sociological...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 4. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online