Книга: Max Weber Sicence As A Vocation Essay

Max Weber- Sicence As A Vocation Essay, Research Paper

Max Weber struggled to discover a vantage point from which he could objectively

analyze and view the world. Weber sought to demystify the ideological constraints found within

social institutions of society. Within the excerpted chapter Science as a Vocation, Weber

investigates the social dynamics of natural science: its place within understanding of the modern

world and its contributions and limitations as an academic vocation. Moreover, Weber dismisses

the positivistic assertion that social science and natural science maintain identical cognitive

aims. The following essay will highlight some of the key arguments made by Weber, in relation

to ?science as a vocation?..

Two key arguments first arise from Weber?s discussion of the positions of both social

scientific and natural scientific investigation within our modern world. First, Weber discerns that

social science and natural science, fundamentally differ in their cognitive aims. Inherently, he

argues that it is not differences in methods of investigation that distinguishes social science from

natural science, but rather differences in their scientific interests. In illustration, the social

scientist desires to understand the social being and therein, desires to understand the

particularities of human beings which cause their social behavior. Whereas, the natural scientist

is devoted to investigating natural events and materials which can be explained in terms of

abstract law. However, Weber argued, that although they differ in their cognitive aims, they

possess the same driving or ?motivating force?- passion. Weber contends that it is a passion for

the subject, which drives both the social and natural scientist to investigation of our world.

Secondly, Weber concedes that both modalities of investigation are defensible, but

neither is able to encompass phenomena in their totality. For example, laws of physics may

provide us with answers as to why our bodies remain fixed to the earth, but they cannot provide

explanation as to why humans seek to break these very laws. Therefore, he argued that neither

vocation is subsumed by or privileged/ superior to the other and each presents limitations within

its methodology. Furthermore, Weber argued that natural ?science has a fate that profoundly

distinguishes it from artistic work?- science is chained to social progress. That it, science is

?antiquated? by the ever- evolving and advancing scientific and technological world in which

human beings are bound, essentially, science is replaced by science. Weber argued that the

social sciences are not subjected to the same fate as founding social and philosophical theories

perpetuate as well as frame new and/or modern ideologies.

The third key argument vested within Weber?s sociology, spins off the previously

mentioned argument. Weber discerned that through science, humankind chased away traditional

religious explanation or abstraction and in its place, vested authority in the scientific tools of

rationalization and calculation. In Weber? s words, ?the world is disenchanted? by the rules and

methodology of science. As Weber argued, science propels the human to clarity or what he

deemed ?intellectualization?, through, concepts, experiments (controlling experience) and

presuppositions. Weber delineates the two presuppositions of science to be, its intrinsic rules as

well as the common belief that the outcome of science is worthy to be known. He concedes that

humans, including students as well as scholars/professors are far too willing to vest authority in

scientific research. Moreover, that students do not dare question the abstract laws of science,

that they merely sit in silence, bathing in the myth that their professors are purveyors of

scientific truth.

In modern day of the year 2000, as a university student, I am exposed to this phenomenon

on a daily basis. Students in the various faculties of science, including engineering, regurgitate

the materials and formulas their professors dictate, without even a second glance or a moment?s

reflection. Weber discerned that students far too often look for a leader, not a teacher. He argued

what could be the origins of a critical pedagogy. In that, he argued the process of learning should

be a two- way exchange between professor and student, not professor to student. Students should

not only be equipped with the traditional tools of scientific investigation, such as concepts,

methodology and/or formula, but they should be encouraged on a regular basis to challenge the

existing scientific doctrine. They should be fully ?equipped? with the tools necessary to conduct

their own scientific investigation.

A final thought, Weber argued that what is considered ?worthy to be known? depends

entirely on the perspective of the investigating scholar. His assertion offers an interesting point

for departure, when one considers his argument with a full and unbiased perspective. Is this not

the quintessential truth underpinning a liberal education? Do we not choose which courses

please or disinterest us? Do we not shape and mold our individual education from this premise?

So, why then, upon entering a classroom, do we allow the professors word to serve as the be and

end to all, in our education? If we have enough liberty to select and dismiss the courses which

suit our fancy, why then don?t we use our voices while in these classrooms? I argue that, we the

students, are the makers of our education.


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