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Viewed in the context of sociology as a whole, such a concept hardly seems to stand out.
This is an animadversion rooted in misinterpretation.
Weber took pains to avoid being accused of constructing such a flimsy argument by emphasizing that his essay develops a much more nebulous theory of what Goethe called , or “elective affinity.” He borrowed from Goethe’s chemistry-born theory of human interaction and behavior to cultivate his own sociological theories regarding human motivation and its effect on history.
This is not a causal relationship but rather a fostering of conditions conducive to the progress of an economic system.
Such an argument may seem less clear-cut, but Weber was aware of his limitations and scope.
Whereas Marxist theory consistently cited material forces, and whereas Hegel pointed to peoples (i.e., the Germans or the French) as the essential blocks in question, Weber pointed to the individual as the major unit in explaining change.
His goal as sociologist is to determine the forces that drive human action via , or an emphatic understanding of human behavior.
Capitalism, however, did not need ascetic Protestantism to survive.
Increased mechanization and the rise of capital-intensive labor allowed capitalism to shed its religious snares and its ideological support.
That is, the word and engaging in idleness amounts to shirking the will of God and displays a sure sign of damnation.
This separates Puritan society from what Weber terms “traditionalism.” According to Weber, it is human nature to only work as much as is necessary for subsistence.