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The Ultimate Ends of Political Responsibility, or a Responsible Interpretation of Max Weber
Linköping University, REMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society. Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2004 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article aims to problematise the interpretative tensions of the relationship between the ‘Ethic of Ultimate Ends’ and the ‘Ethic of Responsibility’in Weber’s 1918 lecture, ‘Politics as a Vocation’ (first published 1919). To this end, we will first examine background factors relating both to Weber’swork itself and the later Weberian tradition in the social sciences, which decisively influence contemporary views and interpretations of Weber. Inopening, I discuss internal and external points of controversy in Weber’swork, which is followed by sections treating the relationship between Weberthe scientist and Weber the politician, as well as the fact−value issue.Finally I compare Weber the liberal with Weber the nationalist. My conclusionis that a large portion of Weber’s oeuvre has not been included in a corresponding theoretical synthesis. Consequently, his work remains inmany ways unfinished and fragmentary and, more importantly, some of histheoretical statements are open to questionable interpretation. In the caseof the relationship between the ‘The Ethic of Ultimate Ends’ and ‘The Ethicof Responsibility,’ understanding of the relationship tends to be based onepistemological and axiological principles in conflict with the principlesupon which Weber’s general theoretical concepts are based. More specifically, and setting aside Weber’s fact−value distinction and his radical moral relativism, contemporary interpretations of the relationship between these two ethics tend to reinterpret Weber’s original proposition regarding ethical criteria that are legitimate within today’s liberal political theory and day-to-day liberal political rhetoric. This is in my opinion wrong, because itdoes not allow us, using Weber’s authentic concept, to learn more of theless visible aspects of our contemporary liberal political reality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2004. , 19 p.
ThemES - Themes on Migration and Ethnic Studies, ISSN 1101-7570 ; 25
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-20708OAI: diva2:235719
Available from: 2009-09-17 Created: 2009-09-17 Last updated: 2009-09-17Bibliographically approved

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Slavnic, Zoran
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REMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and SocietyDepartment of Thematic StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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