Oleg Kil'dyushov 1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Between the Ethos of Science and “Vice Squad”: Max Weber as Polеmicist

2023, vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 71–84 [issue contents]
The article deals with the uniquely specific public profile of Max Weber, who, on the one hand, entered the history of social thought as a staunch supporter of the value-free scientific work, and on the other hand, was a passionate polemicist ready to cause a public scandal even for a minor occasion. At the outset, Weber’s ambivalent understanding of the ethos of modern science as a methodically-controlled search for objective knowledge of the world at the edge of the scientist’s self-denial and free from the influence of extra-scientific motives is pointed out. In so doing, the paradoxical combination in Weber’s anthropology of science of the imperatives of analytical sobriety and passionate loyalty to one’s “daemon” is recorded. It has been argued that his ambivalence was a specific trait of the classicist of German and world sociology, combining his titanic personality with the extremes of a scholarly hermit and a world celebrity with a reputation for unbalanced scandals. Following then are the judgments about the eminent social thinker made by representatives of opposing political currents, both right-wing conservatives and left-wing extremists. On the basis of a number of high-profile scandals that became known to the scientific and general public in early-20th century Germany, the mechanism of Weber’s involvement in conflicts with various opponents at the personal and institutional level is demonstrated. The practical significance for Weber himself of his scientific-theoretical and methodological principles, which became canonical for the self-understanding of the modern scholarly profession, is questioned. Finally, the passionate controversy surrounding Weber’s famous work Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism is analyzed, reconstructed on the example of historian F. Raphael’s critique and the response of Weber’s First Anticritique.
Citation: Kil'dyushov O. (2023) Mezhdu etosom nauchnosti i «literaturnoy politsiey nravov»: Maks Veber kak polemist [Between the Ethos of Science and the “Vice Squad”: Max Weber as Polеmicist]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 22, no 2, pp. 71-84 (in Russian)
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