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 o science as a vocation.. Two key arguments first arise from Webers 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 articularities 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 uman 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 Webers 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 ethodology 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, hat 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 moments 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 e 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 or 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 dont we use our voices while in these classrooms I argue that, we the students, are the makers of our education.