Lecture 14 Reading Summary

Enlightenment the old protestantism of luther

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Unformatted text preview: how the ethos of modern capitalism are irrational. The spirit of capitalism, according to Weber, is not so much a historical concept, as it is a religious one. It is very difficult to define the Spirit of capitalism; it must be gradually put together out of the individual parts, which are taken from historical reality to make it up. For the purpose of this study, it is important to note that other standpoints would, for this as for every historical phenomenon, yield other characteristics as the essential ones. In this case, there cannot be a clear conceptual definition of the term, but only a provisional description. What is here preached is not simply a means of making one's way in the world, but a peculiar ethic. - The infraction of its rules is treated not as foolishness but as forgetfulness of duties. - This ethos, or ethic, is what is of interest to Weber. Although Capitalism was present in, for example, China (it lacked the ethos/ethic Weber is interested in), he specifies that he is studying the spirit of modern capitalism- Which is found in American and Western capitalism. Benjamin Franklin (a major capitalist) à༎ virtues, like honesty, are only in so far virtues as they are actually useful to individuals. It is a conclusion, which is inevitable • for strict utilitarianism. Franklin ascribes his utility of virtue to divine revelation that will lead him to righteousness. Franklin’s ethic/ Protestant ethic: make more and more money, without enjoying life/ devoid of eudemonistic admixture. - Making money is thought of purely as an end in itself (in terms of happiness). - Man is dominated by making money; economic acquisition is no longer subordinated to man as the means for the satisfaction of his material needs. This reversal of what we should call the natural relationship, so irrational from a naive point of view, is evidently as definitely a leading principle of capitalism as it is foreign to all peoples not under capitalistic influence. - It expresses a type of feeling that is closely related with certain religious ideas, like the Calvinist ideals. • • • • • • • • • • The conception, that an individual feels a certain obligation towards his/her professional occupation, has not only under capitalis...
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This note was uploaded on 09/20/2013 for the course POL 303 taught by Professor Profz during the Spring '10 term at University of Toronto.

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