Shortly after Max Weber died in 1920, Wittenberg characterized him as “a child of the Enlightenment born too late” and described his scholarship as “a vitriolic attack on religion.” With only a few notable exceptions, the subsequent evaluation of Weber’s legacy has been a variation of Wittenberg’s assessment. For example, Hekman (1994) has asserted that “the central dichotomies of Enlightenment thought” (i.e., fact vs. value and subject vs. object) serve as the foundation of Weber’s “philosophy of social science as well as his ethics.” Gane (2002) concurs with Hekman’s assessment. Casanova (1994) argues that Weber’s thesis about the “disenchantment of the world” has “its ideological origins in the Enlightenment critique of religion.” In making this assessment, Casanova is echoing Schluchter (1989). In sum, secondary literature on Weber has largely characterized Weber’s scholarship as (a) merely an expression of Enlightenment thought, and (b) inimically hostile to religion. If this is indeed the case, then Weber’s scholarship is largely irrelevant to contemporary discussions about formulating post-Enlightenment models of discourse and inquiry that hold the promise of transcending the limitations of disenchantment and investing contemporary culture with meaning and significance.
KeywordsScientific Rationalism Empirical Reality Secondary Literature Central Dichotomy Enlightenment Thought
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.