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2007 | 10 | 204-231

Article title

Noble nihilism and a classic query of political philosophy. The distinction between facts and values in the political thinking of Max Weber


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In his essay 'Science as a Vocation' Max Weber wrote that the fate of our epoch, characterised by a rationalisation and intellectualisation proper to it, together, primarily, with the fact that we need no longer have recourse to magical means, consists of the disappearance from public life of the ultimate and most sublime values. They may be found in the non-wordly domain of mysticism or in the brotherhood of direct relations binding individuals. The ultimate consequence of subjecting a political order to a scientific rationalisation is the withdrawal from public life into the sphere of religious contemplation or into privacy, the narrow circle of the family and the closest of friends. This means, in fact, the end of politics, at least in its classic form as described by Aristotle. Politics ceases to be an instrument used to solve the problems of the community and becomes a problem in its own right, needing to be solved with the help of science, the only instrument regarded as capable of overcoming any difficulty.



  • P. Marczewski, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Socjologii, ul. Karowa 18, 00-324 Warszawa, Poland


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