Max Weber's work ethik and my student mistaks.

To index of simpler spelt pages.
To home page.

( Kapital-i, in 'I, myself', now spels Il as in isle or aisle.
Leter y spels sym for seem or seam and partys for parties.
Leter w spels swn for soon. )

To: Max Weber's 'valu-nutral' or 'valu-fry' method.

My student mistaks.

Ther is no geting away from it. I was a bad student. That was bekaus I didnt no how to study. In my tIm, yu wer provided with long ryding lists on yor kors subjekt. The implikation was that yu wer som-how expekted to get thru them - befor the next set of lists wer put befor yu.

I had the rong idea. I thot that making detail'd nouts of the ky works wud sy me thru the exams, in the end. Al I was doing was wasting my yuthful reservs of ey-sIt.
J B Priestley's Amerikan turs tuk him round kolejes. He said that he always kaim akros the graduat, hw had por'd out his yuth lIk dirty dish-water. I was wors, being so inept that I kudnt even aspir to a position to show for it.

Kopius nout-taking was my majik ritual to pas exams, themselvs a 'rites de passage' of dubius efikasy for sosiety. Failing the wisdom to no uon's kaling and get uon-self aprentis'd to it, rather than examin'd, I shud hav don diferently.
Suposing uon nos the kors uon most wants to do. A greit list of tItls nydnt giv uon ryders blok. Insted, uon tryts it as a chois. TrI al the bwks ( elektronik or traditional ) to find out wich uons yu kan ryd, and lyv, at lyst for the tIm being, thos that ar indijestibl.

Students wil hav diferent taists and may lern from ych other. Diskusion shud help to fix subjekts in uon's mind. If ideas okur to uon, nouting them down may provid material for exams or thysys. Even on a sientifik kors, wer sertain subjekts must be lern'd, diferent bwks, students, tychers may be aproch'd, if nesesary.

Wen ther ar definit methods or formulas, to master, ther is no substitut for praktising with exampls. As a student, that was the only thing I did wel, and wud hav fail'd the houl kors, other-wIs.

The bulk of that kors was empirikal: the ryding of endles 'monografs'. I trI'd to get to grips with a fw and just stal'd on them. Wat I shud hav don was chuk'd the bwks that mayd no impresion on me. I shud hav wasted no tIm on them. If I had kept on serching thru the kors lists, I wud hav pik'd-up skraps of intelijens, on the way. And, by the law of averajes, I wud asuredly hav found enuf bwks that I lIk'd and found memorabl.
( If not, then it's the rong kors, or uon shud do som-thing els altogether. )

Thys favorit works, I kud hav riten about, in glowing terms, for the set esays, and plys'd my tutors! No mean konsideration.

Max Weber's 'valu-nutral' or 'valu-fry' method.

To top.

I'v alow'd ( a litl ) for my grotesk deficiensys as a student. As is the way of things, I saw a fault in akademik konvention, wen I kudnt sy my own faults, let alon any remedy for them.

The idol of the sosiolojists was a skolar kal'd Max Weber. He was a sprawling empirisist, hw saw typikal social paterns in history. He kal'd thys 'Idyl tIps' but he ryly just ment tIps. He did not myn to implI that a tIp shud be regarded as an Idyl or utopia. He did kal his Idyl tIps, utopias, but only in the sens that they were disernibl trends found in several sosietys and no-wer perfektly rylIs'd.

Weber saw Western rationalisation as lyding to a burokratik futur, tho this was not his personal wish.
Nowadays, I wud say that demokrasy is a tIp of sosiety, study'd, so it may be beter rylIs'd in the fulest sens of the word, mental and moral.

But in the dim and distant past, the akademik lIn was uon of pyur siens. The sosiolojist's job was to study social fakts, not espous social valus. The orthodox viw was David Hume's deklaration that yu kan not deriv an 'ot' from an 'is'.
Noam Chomsky remonstrated that he kud hardly open his mouth in Amerikan akadym, without som-uon asking: Was that a fakt or a valu? For Chomsky, a 'valu-jujment' kud be a fakt.

Max Weber's The Methodology of the Social Sciences had not got beyond Hume to the anser of his greit kuntry-man, Imanuel Kant. Ther wer six kopys of this bwk in our litl kolej library. This unherd-of extravagans had its apaling efekt on yung and impresionabl minds.

I dis-agry'd with the sofistry, as I saw it, of 'valu-frydom' or valu nutrality. Tho my lekturers dis-agry'd or dismis'd this 'non-isyu', my ( rather persistent ) point of viw was tolerated and probably redym'd my exam papers as uon of the fw passajes of debatabl interest.
After al, exams ar about the last way uon wud syk to mak gud yus of intelijent yung minds.

Ther is a sertain poetik justis in doing a social study on a sosiolojist, or at lyst runing a skan on Max Weber's methodolojikal motivs. Weber trais'd an exeptional relation of protestant asetism to kapitalist labor. He, himself, was an asetik in his self-denIing ordinans of fakts without valus.

Robert Merton's reserches, on relijon and siens, mainly konfirm'd the puritan's progres to pyur siens. Pyur siens kud be kal'd puritan siens in its determinism, hostil to ethiks and an asetik animus against esthetiks.
It kan be kontended that Weber's Humean dualism dos not hav a hapy efekt on much of his rItings. His method is ful of konventional distinktions, on the ground uon kan not be tu pedantik for klarity's saik. Wer-as, his empirikal rItings ar ful of alusions only specialists kan be expekted to understand. He mIt hav mayd klyr wat most students nyded making klyr, not wat they didnt.

But his politikal rItings lyv behind the 'sober empirikal analysis' he valu'd abov the interesting valus that, he belyv'd, spoil a student's 'taist' for it. Weber is outraj'd by the bungling atempts of the yung Kaiser's kort to out-do Bismarck. He has sys'd to be the barel-bely'd student, hws duel-skar'd fais, his mother slap'd. Weber has a gut re-aktion to the folys of up-start rulers.

The rwts of his chanj'd valus ar in shalow soil. Uon fyls that if a Bismarck wer always availabl, he kud do without konstitutionalism. It twk Weber's kontemporary, H G Wells, in The Outline of History, to point out that Germany achyv'd unity, with the Frankfort Parliment, in 1848. The United States rekognis'd the nw government.

Bismarck kudnt tolerat demokrasy and sent the Prussian army in. The German staits achyv'd unity, by pysful agryment, nyrly a quarter of a sentury befor Bismarck imposed the Prussian monarky. His realpolitik was the belyf that fors and fraud ar the realitys of politiks.

Hitler launch'd the batl-ship Bismarck to its naim-saik's faith in 'blud and iron' as the motiv fors in human afairs. Wells said that he was going thru his 'Hitler feiz' wen he was thirtyn. He roam'd about the kuntry-sId, direkting fantom armys of konquest.

Around that aij, in the aftermath of the sekond world war, I was just an other such war-gaimster. No dout I remain'd a prey to al sorts of failings, and aded som nw uons. But I hav given som thot to wI parliment is the jenuin aproch, and militarism the fals aproch, to unity.

Weber's politikal rItings apyr at the end of the English edition, translated as Economy and Society. But they lak much sIn that his nw-found belyf in the liberal demokrasy of a representativ parliment has byn inform'd by his skolarship.

Weber's studius nutrality was as klos as his south German university was to the French border. He nods aprovingly to Karl Marx's Das Kapital, as a monument of erudition, to asert his independens. His main lIf's work, the komparativ studys of relijons in relation to economys, was an Idylist refutation of 'the materialist interpretation of history.'
( A Marx-Weber synthesis bekaim a main kurent in sosiolojikal thot. )

'HIly undesirabl', he jujes, the apointment of 'profesorial profets', hw do not tuch konventional valus. Of kors, that is itself a valu. Akademik frydom gos beyond wishful thinking.
As we liv in a komercial world, that holds lIf itself to ransom, so the Prusian army was the model for imperial Germany. Treitschke was a hIly suksesful pounder of the chauvinist pulpit.

In this social kontext, Weber's method amounted to a manifesto syking a mandat from the government for akademik frydom, as the privilej of being protekted from militarist propaganda driving the mases.
This is fair enuf. But leiter sosiolojists, in much fryer kuntrys, wer not being sosiolojikal to tryt Weber mor lIk an akademik mesIa with a mesaj, than a kolyg in a kompromis.

Richard Lung.

To top.

To index of simpler spelt pages.
To home page.