|Birth Day:||April 21, 1864|
|Death Date:||Jun 14, 1920 (age 56)|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Max Weber died on Jun 14, 1920 (age 56).
After studying law and history at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Berlin, he began teaching at the latter institution and simultaneously publishing sociological works.
Maximilian Karl Emil Weber was born in 1864 in Erfurt, Province of Saxony, Prussia. He would be the oldest of seven children to Max Weber Sr., a wealthy and prominent civil servant and National Liberal Party member, and his wife Helene Fallenstein, who partly descended from French Huguenot immigrants and held strong moral absolutist ideas.
Weber Sr.'s involvement in public life immersed his home in both politics and academia, as his salon welcomed many prominent scholars and public figures. The young Weber and his brother Alfred, who also became a sociologist and economist, thrived in this intellectual atmosphere. For Christmas in 1876 Weber, at thirteen years old, would gift his parents two historical essays, entitled "About the course of German history, with special reference to the positions of the Emperor and the Pope", and "About the Roman Imperial period from Constantine to the migration of nations".
In 1882, Weber enrolled in the University of Heidelberg as a law student, transferring to the University of Berlin after a year of military service. After his first few years as a student, during which he spent much time "drinking beer and fencing", Weber would increasingly take his mother's side in family arguments and grew estranged from his father. Simultaneously with his studies, he worked as a junior lawyer. In 1886, Weber passed the examination for Referendar, comparable to the bar association examination in the British and U.S. legal systems. Throughout the late 1880s, Weber continued his study of law and history, earning his law doctorate in 1889 by writing a dissertation on legal history titled The history of commercial partnerships in the Middle Ages. This work would be used as part of a longer work, On the History of Trading Companies in the Middle Ages, based on South-European Sources, published in the same year. Two years later, working with August Meitzen, Weber completed his habilitation, Roman Agrarian History and its Significance for Public and Private Law. Having thus become a privatdozent, Weber joined the University of Berlin's faculty, lecturing and consulting for the government.
In the years between the completion of his dissertation and habilitation, Weber took an interest in contemporary social policy. In 1888, he joined the Verein für Socialpolitik, a new professional association of German economists affiliated with the historical school, who saw the role of economics primarily as finding solutions to the social problems of the age and who pioneered large scale statistical studies of economic issues. He also involved himself in politics, joining the left-leaning Evangelical Social Congress. In 1890, the Verein established a research program to examine "the Polish question", or ostflucht: the influx of Polish farm workers into eastern Germany as local labourers migrated to Germany's rapidly industrialising cities. Weber was put in charge of the study and wrote a large part of the final report, which generated considerable attention and controversy, marking the beginning of Weber's renown as a social scientist.
In 1893, Weber married his distant cousin Marianne Schnitger, later a feminist activist and author in her own right, who was instrumental in collecting and publishing Weber's journal articles as books after his death, while her biography of him is an important source for understanding Weber's life. They would have no children. The marriage granted long-awaited financial independence to Weber, allowing him to finally leave his parents' household.
From 1893 to 1899, Weber was a member of the Alldeutscher Verband (Pan-German League), an organization that campaigned against the influx of the Polish workers; the degree of Weber's support for the Germanisation of Poles and similar nationalist policies is still debated by modern scholars. In some of his work, in particular his provocative lecture on "The Nation State and Economic Policy" delivered in 1895, Weber criticises the immigration of Poles and blames the Junker class for perpetuating Slavic immigration to serve their selfish interests.
Weber and his wife, Marianne, moved to Freiburg in 1894, where Weber was appointed professor of economics at the Albert-Ludwigs University, before accepting the same position at the University of Heidelberg in 1896. There, Weber became a central figure in the so-called "Weber Circle", composed of other intellectuals, including his wife Marianne, as well as Georg Jellinek, Ernst Troeltsch, Werner Sombart and Robert Michels. Weber also remained active in the Verein and the Evangelical Social Congress. His research in that period was focused on economics and legal history.
In 1897, Weber Sr. died two months after a severe quarrel with his son that was never resolved. After this, Weber became increasingly prone to depression, nervousness and insomnia, making it difficult for him to fulfill his duties as a professor. His condition forced him to reduce his teaching and eventually leave his course unfinished in the autumn of 1899. After spending the summer and fall months of 1900 in a sanatorium, Weber and his wife travelled to Italy at the end of the year, not returning to Heidelberg until April 1902. He would again withdraw from teaching in 1903 and would not return until 1919. Weber's ordeal with mental illness was carefully described in a personal chronology that was destroyed by his wife. This chronicle was supposedly destroyed because Marianne feared that Weber's work would be discredited by the Nazis if his experience with mental illness were widely known.
After Weber's immense productivity in the early 1890s, he did not publish any papers between early 1898 and late 1902, finally resigning his professorship in late 1903. Freed from those obligations, in that year he accepted a position as associate editor of the Archives for Social Science and Social Welfare, where he worked with his colleagues Edgar Jaffé [de] and Werner Sombart. His new interests would lie in more fundamental issues of social sciences; his works from this latter period are of primary interest to modern scholars. In 1904, Weber began to publish some of his most seminal papers in this journal, notably his essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, which became his most famous work and laid the foundations for his later research on the impact of cultures and religions on the development of economic systems. This essay was the only one of his works from that period that was published as a book during his lifetime. Some other of his works written in the first one and a half decades of the 20th century – published posthumously and dedicated primarily from the fields of sociology of religion, economic and legal sociology – are also recognised as among his most important intellectual contributions.
Also in 1904, Weber visited the United States, participating in the Congress of Arts and Sciences held in connection with the World's Fair (Louisiana Purchase Exposition) in St. Louis. A monument to his visit was placed at the home of relatives whom Weber visited in Mt. Airy, North Carolina.
Despite his partial recovery evident in America, Weber felt that he was unable to resume regular teaching at that time and continued on as a private scholar, helped by an inheritance in 1907. In 1909, disappointed with the Verein, he co-founded the German Sociological Association (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie, or DGS) and served as its first treasurer, though resigning in 1912.
Though his research interests were always in line with those of the German historicists, with a strong emphasis on interpreting economic history, Weber's defence of "methodological individualism" in the social sciences represented an important break with that school and an embracing of many of the arguments that had been made against the historicists by Carl Menger, the founder of the Austrian School of economics, in the context of the academic Methodenstreit ("debate over methods") of the late 19th century. The phrase methodological individualism, which has come into common usage in modern debates about the connection between microeconomics and macroeconomics, was coined by the Austrian-American economist Joseph Schumpeter in 1908 as a way of referring to the views of Weber. According to Weber's theses, social research cannot be fully inductive or descriptive, because understanding some phenomenon implies that the researcher must go beyond mere description and interpret it; interpretation requires classification according to abstract "ideal (pure) types". This, together with his antipositivistic argumentation (see Verstehen), can be taken as a methodological justification for the model of the "rational economic man" (homo economicus), which is at the heart of modern mainstream economics.
Unlike other historicists, Weber also accepted the marginal theory of value (aka "marginalism") and taught it to his students. In 1908, Weber published an article in which he drew a sharp methodological distinction between psychology and economics and attacked the claims that the marginal theory of value in economics reflected the form of the psychological response to stimuli as described by the Weber-Fechner law. Max Weber's article has been cited as a definitive refutation of the dependence of the economic theory of value on the laws of psychophysics by Lionel Robbins, George Stigler, and Friedrich Hayek, though the broader issue of the relation between economics and psychology has come back into the academic debate with the development of "behavioral economics".
Later in 1912, Weber tried to organise a left-wing political party to combine social-democrats and liberals. This attempt was unsuccessful, in part because many liberals feared social-democratic revolutionary ideals.
Weber joined the worker and soldier council of Heidelberg in 1918. He then served in the German delegation to the Paris Peace Conference and as advisor to the Confidential Committee for Constitutional Reform, which drafted the Weimar Constitution. Motivated by his understanding of the American model, he advocated a strong, popularly elected presidency as a constitutional counterbalance to the power of the professional bureaucracy. More controversially, he also defended the provisions for emergency presidential powers that became Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution. These provisions were later used by Adolf Hitler to subvert the rest of the constitution and institute rule by decree, allowing his regime to suppress opposition and gain dictatorial powers.
Later that same month, in January 1919, after Weber and his party were defeated for election, Weber delivered one of his greatest academic lectures, "Politics as a Vocation", which reflected on the inherent violence and dishonesty he saw among politicians – a profession in which only recently Weber was so personally active. About the nature of politicians, he concluded that, "in nine out of ten cases they are windbags puffed up with hot air about themselves. They are not in touch with reality, and they do not feel the burden they need to shoulder; they just intoxicate themselves with romantic sensations."
On 14 June 1920, Max Weber contracted the Spanish flu and died of pneumonia in Munich. At the time of his death, Weber had not finished writing his magnum opus on sociological theory: Economy and Society. His widow, Marianne, helped prepare it for its publication in 1921–1922.
Weber's work in the field of sociology of religion began with the essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and continued with his analyses in The Religion of China, The Religion of India, and Ancient Judaism. His work on other religions, however, would be interrupted by his sudden death in 1920, which prevented him from following Ancient Judaism with studies of early Christianity and Islam. The three main themes within the essays were: the effect of religious ideas on economic activities; the relation between social stratification and religious ideas; and the distinguishable characteristics of Western civilisation.
Weber's death in 1920 prevented him from following his planned analysis of Psalms, the Book of Job, Talmudic Jewry, early Christianity and Islam.
Weber's magnum opus Economy and Society is a collection of his essays that he was working on at the time of his death in 1920. After his death, the final organization and editing of the book fell to his widow Marianne. The final German form published in 1921 reflected very much Marianne's work and intellectual commitment. The composition includes a wide range of essays dealing with Weber's views regarding sociology, social philosophy, politics, social stratification, world religion, diplomacy, and other subjects.
As part of his overarching effort to understand the unique development of the Western world, Weber produced a detailed general study of the city as the characteristic locus of the social and economic relations, political arrangements, and ideas that eventually came to define the West. This resulted in a monograph, The City, which he probably compiled from research conducted in 1911–1913. It was published posthumously in 1921, and, in 1924, was incorporated into the second part of his Economy and Society, as the sixteenth chapter, "The City (Non-legitimate Domination)".
Although today Weber is primarily read by sociologists and social philosophers, Weber's work did have a significant influence on Frank Knight, one of the founders of the neoclassical Chicago school of economics, who translated Weber's General Economic History into English in 1927. Knight also wrote in 1956 that Max Weber was the only economist who dealt with the problem of understanding the emergence of modern capitalism "... from the angle which alone can yield an answer to such questions, that is, the angle of comparative history in the broad sense."
Beginning in 1956, the German jurist Johannes Winckelmann began editing and organizing the German edition of Economy and Society based on his study of the papers that Weber left at his death. English versions of the work were published as a collected volume in 1968, as edited by Gunther Roth and Claus Wittich. As a result of the various editions in German and English, there are differences between the organization of the different volumes. The book is typically published in a two volume set in both German and English, and is more than 1000 pages long.
Max and his six younger siblings were born in Erfurt, Prussia (modern-day Germany) to Helene Fallenstein and civil servant Max Weber, Sr. In 1893, he married writer and activist Marianne Schnitger.
Currently, Max Weber is 158 years, 2 months and 7 days old. Max Weber will celebrate 159th birthday on a Friday 21st of April 2023. Below we countdown to Max Weber upcoming birthday.
Max Weber – pioneer of sociology
Max Weber turned sociology into a modern science – and his ideas still have an impact today.