Laurence j Foster (ID No 12616463)
Was Weber right to argue the uniqueness of the West?
This is a very ambiguous question that implies that the observer has a similar set of rational values in order to work out the effectiveness of the result of this issue. There is an obvious need to clarify the terms of what is meant by the notion of what is in essence the rational quality of “uniqueness” and what qualifies for the West to be even consider to have this term used as an objective description.
It is this rational expression that is being judged and criticised in this question. The criterion of rationality that can distinguish civilisation from primitive and other cultures and societies have been debated for decades. One side favours that there is any absolute distinction between primitive and civilised beliefs and behaviour, there is only external rationality irrespective of belief systems and that is scientific knowledge. The other side there is no criterion of rationality independent of the belief system within which we operate; therefore we must operate on a certain level of consistency in order to operate a belief structure. (It’s just that it is hard to interpret from one society to another.) I believe that Weber would be convinced and support the latter as I do, and that would be the bases of his argument in rational expression of the thought that the West is unique in that respect and given cause to why it remains so.
The historical arguments put forward by Weber in his essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Die Protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus) is an indication to where this uniqueness comes from. The seemingly unrelated interaction between various religious ideas in relation to economic behaviour is the pre-cursor to all this activity which he attributes to his notion of uniqueness. Weber put forward the thesis that the Calvinist ethic and ideas influenced the development of capitalism in the modern...