German Sociologist and Political Economist
Max Weber, formally Maximilian Carl Emil Weber
German Sociologist and Political Economist
All the analysis of infinite reality which the finite human mind can conduct rests on the tacit assumption that only a finite portion of this reality constitutes the object of scientific investigation, and that only it is 'important' in the sense of being 'worthy of being known.'
It is not true that good can follow only from good and evil only from evil, but that often the opposite is true. Anyone who fails to see this is, indeed, a political infant.
The development of the concept of the calling quickly gave to the modern entrepreneur a fabulously clear conscience ? and also industrious workers; he gave to his employees as the wages of their ascetic devotion to the calling and of co-operation in his ruthless exploitation of them through capitalism the prospect of eternal salvation.
Bureaucratic administration means fundamentally domination through knowledge.
Laws are important and valuable in the exact natural sciences, in the measure that those sciences are universally valid.
The ethic of conviction and the ethic of responsibility are not opposites. They are complementary to one another.
Causal analysis provides absolutely no value judgment, and a value judgment is absolutely not a causal explanation.
No sociologist should think himself too good, even in his old age, to make tens of thousands of quite trivial computations in his head and perhaps for months at a time. One cannot with impunity try to transfer this task entirely too mechanical assistants if one wishes to figure something, even though the final result is often small indeed.
The fate of an epoch that has eaten of the tree of knowledge is that it must...recognize that general views of life and the universe can never be the products of increasing empirical knowledge, and that the highest ideals, which move us most forcefully, are always formed only in the struggle with other ideals which are just as sacred to others as ours are to us.
Certainly all historical experience confirms the truth - that man would not have attained the possible unless time and again he had reached out for the impossible.
Not everyone realizes that to write a really good piece of journalism is at least as demanding intellectually as the achievement of any scholar.
The fully developed bureaucratic apparatus compares with other organizations exactly as does the machine with the non-mechanical modes of production.
'Culture' is a finite segment of the meaningless infinity of the world process, a segment on which human beings confer meaning and significance.
One can say that three pre-eminent qualities are decisive for the politician: passion, a feeling of responsibility, and a sense of proportion.
The nation is burdened with the heavy curse on those who come afterwards. The generation before us was inspired by an activism and a naive enthusiasm, which we cannot rekindle, because we confront tasks of a different kind from those which our fathers faced.
Daily and hourly, the politician inwardly has to overcome a quite trivial and all-too-human enemy: a quite vulgar vanity.
Only by strict specialization can the scientific worker become fully conscious, for once and perhaps never again in his lifetime, that he has achieved something that will endure. A really definitive and good accomplishment is today always a specialized act.
The origin of a rational and inner-worldly ethic is associated in the Occident with the appearance of thinkers and prophets ... who developed in a social context which was alien to the Asiatic cultures. This context consisted of the political problems engendered by the bourgeois status-group of the city, without which neither Judaism, nor Christianity, nor the development of Hellenistic thinking are conceivable.
Either one lives 'for' politics or one lives 'off' politics.
Only he has the calling for politics who is sure that he will not crumble when the world from his point of view is too stupid or base for what he wants to offer. Only he who in the face of all this can say ''In spite of all!'' has the calling for politics.
The primary task of a useful teacher is to teach his students to recognize 'inconvenient' facts - I mean facts that are inconvenient for their party opinions.
Every type of purely direct concrete description bears the mark of artistic portrayal.
Only on the assumption of belief in the validity of values is the attempt to espouse value-judgments meaningful. However, to judge the validity of such values is a matter of faith.
The purely emotional form of Pietism is, as Ritschl has pointed out, a religious dilettantism for the leisure class.
For the true mystic the principle continues to hold: the creature must be silent so that God may speak.