- Copyright Page
- About the Editors
- Abbreviated Titles for Max Weber’s Texts
- Chronology of Max Weber’s Life
- Max Weber Past, Present, and Future
- Economics and Society and the Fate of Liberal Capitalism
- Max Weber’s Analysis of Capitalism
- Money, Credit, and Finance in Capitalism
- Law and the Development of Capitalism
- Is There a Future for Bourgeois Liberalism?
- Contemporary Capitalism and the Distribution of Power in Society
- Weberian Social Theory: Rationalization in a Globalized World
- Democracy, Partisanship, and Civil Society
- Nation, Nation-State, and Nationalism
- The Weberian City, Civil Society, and Turkish Social Thought
- The Modern State and Its Monopoly on Violence
- The Relevance of Weber’s Conception and Typology of Herrschaft
- The Supranational Dimension in Max Weber’s Vision of Politics
- Plebiscitary Politics and the Threats to Legality: Some Classical Insights on a Current Phenomenon
- Politics and Ethics, and the Ethic of Politics
- Max Weber’s Ethics for the Modern World
- Max Weber and the Late Modernization of Catholicism
- The “Disenchantment of the World” or Why We Can No Longer Use the Formula as Max Weber Might Have Intended
- The Literati and the Dao: Vernacular and Nation in China
- Class, Caste, and Social Stratification in India: Weberian Legacy
- Including Islam
- The Study on Ancient Israel and Its Relevance for Contemporary Politics
- The Rationalizations of Culture and Their Directions
- Max Weber and the Sociology of Music
- Contemporary Life Conduct and Existential Cultures
- From Occidental Rationalism to Multiple Modernities
- Max Weber and the Idea of the Occident
- Intellectuals, Scholars, and the Value of Science
- The Iron Cage in the Information Age: Bureaucracy as Tangible Manifestation of a Deep Societal Phenomenon
- Causation, Value Judgments, Verstehen
- Realism and Reality in Max Weber
Abstract and Keywords
The “disenchantment of the world” is a famous formulation of Max Weber’s, one taken up in Walter Benjamin’s “Elective Affinities” essay. This chapter analyzes Weber’s conception of disenchantment in the context of his work. Two aspects of his discussion can be distinguished: religious-historical and scientific-historical. Weber’s preference for principled consistency, for instance, in the Calvinist sects, is normally evaluated positively. But it can be shown to cloud his vision of much more complex issues, such as the problem of “meaning.” Weber identified the decisive consequences of disenchantment with a loss of meaning. But disenchantment does not eo ipso have to signify a loss of meaning in life. In this respect Weber was a child of his times, trapped in a cultural context characterized by a newly established Christianity born from the failed revolutions of 1848, as well as by the process of industrialization. A role was also played by Nietzsche’s widespread influence. The chapter concludes with a discussion of Weber’s conception of disenchantment in relation to the contrasting views of Benjamin and Robert Bellah.
Kenichi Mishima is professor emeritus for comparative studies of civilizations and for social philosophy at the University of Osaka. He studied philosophy, German literature, and comparative studies of literature and civilization at the University of Tokyo. He also worked as a professor at the University of Tokyo and Gakushuin University. His research focuses on critical theory of society, theory of multiple modernities, German idealism, and critics of modernity. Recent publications have appeared in Critical Asian Studies (2016) and Nova Acta Leopoldina (2017).
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