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HISTORY OF THE HUMAN SCIENCES

Vol. 4 No. 1

Autonomy and inner distance:


a trace

of Nietzsche in Weber
DAVID OWEN

The

problem I raise here is not what ought to succeed mankind in the


sequence of species (- the human being is an end -): but what type of
human being one ought to breed, ought to will, as more valuable, more
)
1
worthy of life, more certain of the future. (Friedrich Nietzsche
The question which leads us beyond the grave of our own generation is not
how will human beings
feel in the future, but how will they be We
do not want to train up feelings of well-being in people, but those
characteristics we think constitute the greatness and nobility of our human
nature. (Max Weber
)
2
Max Webers relationship to Nietzsche is a topic which until recently remained
largely unexplored; this despite Webers own location of Nietzsche as one of the
categorical interpreters of modernity.3 In part this inattention has been redressed
by contemporary scholarship,4 yet it would scarcely be an exaggeration to
suggest that in the context of Webers complex and controversial oeuvre (not to
mention Nietzsches!)5 this question has still to be adequately developed. This
article constitutes an attempt to articulate the centrality of Nietzsche for Webers
sociological project by arguing that Webers account of modernity is structured
about the Nietzschean question of what type of man one should will and the
possibility of breeding this type of man in modernity.6
This argument is facilitated by focusing initially on the issue of the levelling of
man in modernity. It is suggested here that Nietzsche and Weber manifest a
...

with the loss of distance on the part of the individual and the
potential consequences of this loss for the development of Menschentum. On
the basis of these accounts, it is argued that Nietzsches and Webers accounts
deploy a principle of evaluation constituted by reference to a conception of the
common concern

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80

individual. The latter focus of this article is provided by an elucidation of


Nietzsches and Webers attempts to indicate those moments of modern culture
which allow for the possibility of this type of individual. It is illustrated that
Nietzsche and Weber in these accounts draw on readings of Christian asceticism
and articulate notions of inner distance. Finally, the central distinction between
the forms of individuality they present as the type of man one should will are
illustrated by reference to their readings of the significance of Goethe as an
archetype for modern man.

THE LEVELLING OF MAN IN MODERNITY


In the first essay of On the

Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche suggests that in


the
nobles
self-affirmation
is predicated on the pathos of distance
antiquity
is
This
claim
elaborated in Beyond Good and Evil:
(cf. Nietzsche, 1969: 26).
Without the pathos of distance such as develops from the incarnate differences of
classes ... that other, more mysterious pathos could not have developed either,
that longing for an ever-increasing widening of distance within the soul itself
(Nietzsche, 1973: 173). A similar account is offered by Weber:
Their

[the nobles] sense of esteem rests on their awareness that the


perfection of their life pattern is an expression of their underived, ultimate,
and qualitatively distinctive being; indeed it is the very nature of the case
that this should be the elites feeling of worth. (Weber, 1965:106)
It is a feature of the nobles unreflective internalization of the social order of rank

that they assign to religion the primary function of legitimating their own life
pattern and situation in the world (Weber, 1965: 107). Both Nietzsche and
Weber contrast this position of the noble with the need of the disprivileged
classes for an ethic of salvation (cf. Nietzsche, 1969: 48 and Weber, 1965: 106-7).
The significance of these accounts emerges in terms of the contrast they offer
to the position of man in modernity. This situation is characterized by Nietzsche
in terms of the levelling influence of the mass and is manifest in the development
of mass democracy: the democratic movement is not merely a form assumed by
political organization in decay, but also a form assumed by man in decay, that is
to say in diminishment, in the process of becoming mediocre and losing his value
(Nietzsche, 1973:108). The form of this diminishment is conceived as increase in
the trainability of men (Nietzsche, 1968b: 79), the production of a type of man
who exists purely as an instrument (Nietzsche, 1968b: 398). Weber articulates a
similar concern with a different emphasis; for him, the central feature is the
growth of rational discipline which is manifest in the bureaucratization which
accompanies the rise of mass democracy. Again, however, it is the reduction of
the individual to an instrument which is the central feature; thus, Weber
describes the content of rational discipline as nothing but the consistently

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81

rationalized, methodically trained and exact execution of the received order, in

personal criticism is unconditionally suspended and the actor is


unswervingly and exclusively set for carrying out the command (Weber,
1948: 253). The central feature of both these accounts of modernity as a levelling
of man is the lack of the pathos of distance. It is notable in this context that both
Nietzsche and Weber regard socialism as the ultimate extension of this process of
levelling. Thus Nietzsche suggests that socialism expressly aspires to the
annihilation of the individual, who appears to it like an unauthorized luxury of
nature destined to be improved in a useful organ of the community (Nietzsche,
1986 : 173), this view being echoed in Webers concern that socialism would
abolish the possibility of individual autonomy and self-expression through the
construction of a totally bureaucratic order in which the individual is reduced to
an instrument of the state (cf. Beetham, 1974: 82-9).
The dilemma posed by the levelling of man in modernity is exacerbated for
both Nietzsche and Weber by the collapse of criteria of public morality in the

which all

face of science.g Nietzsches remark that in the same measure as the sense for
causality increases, the domain of morality decreases (Nietzsche, 1982: 10)
prefigures Webers well-known claim that in the face of science the ultimate and
most sublime values have retreated from public life (Weber, 1948:155). The
consequence of this retreat of values is to construct a crisis of self-affirmation for
the modem individual. Nietzsche portrays this crisis in terms of individual

psychology:
discover in ourselves needs implanted by centuries of moral interpretation - needs that now appear to us as needs for untruth; on the other
we

hand, the value for which we endure life seems to depend on these needs.
(Nietzsche, 1968b: 10)
The outcome of this dilemma, Nietzsche suggests, is that the modern individual
far from resisting the levelling of man in modernity is faced with a loss of inner
distance and flees into either mysticism or mechanical activity as attempts to dull
their existential angst (Nietzsche, 1968b: 20). In Webers account, this crisis is
posed in terms of the institutional consequences of Christian asceticism. The
economic activity encouraged by Protestant asceticism is located as a central
factor in the development of capitalism, yet today capitalism rests on mechanical
foundations and activities which were means to religious ends are elevated into
ends themselves: The Puritan wanted to work in a calling; we are forced to do so
(Weber,1930: 181). We are trapped, for Weber, within an iron cage of our own
construction. The result of which, as with Nietzsche, is a loss of inner distance
which facilitates an ethos of flight from the world into mysticism or mechanical

activity (cf. Alexander, 1987: 198-2009).


This examination of Nietzsches and Webers accounts of modernity can be
concluded by locating their prognoses for the development of Menschentum. In
the case of Nietzsche, this development is constituted by the collective

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82

degeneration of man down to that which socialists, dolts and blockheads today
see as their &dquo;man of the future&dquo; - as their ideal! - this degeneration and
diminution of man to the perfect herd animal (Nietzsche, 1973:109), where the
herd animal is conceived in terms of an ethic of adaptability. For Weber, as one
interpreter indicates:
routinization and rationalization pave the way for the eventual rise of a
new human species - namely the fully-adjusted men of a bureaucratic age
who no longer strive for goals which lie beyond their intellectual horizon,
which is in any case likely to be exclusively defined by their most
immediate material needs. (Mommsen, 1974: 20)

with Nietzsche, Webers fear is that the dominant human type in


likely to be characterized by an ethic of adaptability.
What emerges in both these accounts is the operation of a principle of
evaluation. Nietzsche and Weber - let us be clear - are offering accounts which
are simultaneously scholarly explanations and normative critiques, which is to
say that both interrogate modernity from a perspective defined by a concept of
the individual. Nietzsche is explicit about this enterprise of evaluation in his
praise for the noble and his scorn for the herd. It is in the self-affirmation of the
noble, a self-affirmation constituted by self-determination - that is the
constitution of a unified will (cf. Warren,1988:129) - that Nietzsche locates his
ideal. In Weber, the concept of the individual remains implicit, yet, as a recent
commentator has noted: The idea that bureaucratization and disenchantment
threaten the individual presupposes a certain conception of the self to which the
attributes of autonomy and self-expression are somehow essential (Schroeder,
1991 : 62). The question posed by these principles of evaluation thus concerns the
possibility of realizing a human type characterized by the capacity for autonomy
and self-expression in the face of a social world constituted by the levelling of
man (the loss of the pathos of distance), and the possibility of actualizing this
capacity in the face of a culture constituted by the collapse of public morality (the
loss of common grounds of inner distance).
In

common

modernity is

ASCETICISM,

INNER DISTANCE AND VALUES

The self-affirmation of the noble, as noted above, is based on the unreflective


internalization of the social order of rank. The concept of inner distance - that
other, more mysterious pathos - reflects this internalization. What is important
to note here is that this inner distance is constitutive of the individual as a
self-determining being. The qualitatively distinctive being of the noble, as
Weber puts it, is underived (Weber, 1965: 106; italics added). The problem
posed by the levelling of man in modernity is, thus, that of articulating the
possibility of inner distance in the absence of the pathos of distance provided by

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83

social order of rank. Both Nietzsche and Weber account for this possibility by
analysis of Christian asceticism.&dquo;
The central feature of the nobles ability to unify the will, to determine
themselves, is that the unification of the will is unreflective, it is simply the natural
consequence of internalizing the social order of rank. Under the aegis of
Christian asceticism, however, both Nietzsche and Weber argue that the
unification of the will becomes subject to self-reflection. Nietzsche accounts for
this development by reference to a redirecting of ressentiment. Whereas the initial
focus of ressentiment is the nobles, now it is the Christians themselves:&dquo;
a

recourse to an

I suffer: someone must be to blame for it - thus thinks every sickly sheep.
But his shepherd, the ascetic priest, tells him: Quite so, my sheep!

be to blame for it: but you yourself are this someone, you
alone are to blame for it you alone are to blame for yourself - This is
brazen and false enough: but one thing at least is achieved by it, the
direction of ressentiment is altered. (Nietzsche, 1969: 128)
someone must

The consequence of this change in the direction of ressentiment is to place the


individual within a regime constituted by the need for perpetual self-reflection;
the desire to avoid suffering motivates the reflexive unification of the will, the
reflexive determination of self, through adherence to values legislated by the
ascetic priest as embodying Gods will. Inner distance is, thus, reflexively
constituted through adherence to the form of life prescribed by Christian
morality. Webers account is similarly structured about Christian asceticisms
constitution of a regime of self-reflection; the central feature, for Weber, being
Luthers conception of a calling. The distinctive feature of Protestant asceticism,
on Webers account, is the valuation of the fulfilment of duty in worldly affairs
as the highest form which the moral activity of the individual could assume
(Weber, 1930: 80), where this fulfilment of duty expresses the consciousness of
grace which marked out the individual as one of the elect. It follows, Weber
argues, that the individual has an incentive to methodically supervise his own
state of grace in his own conduct, and thus to penetrate it with asceticism where
this ascetic conduct meant a rational planning of ones whole life in accordance
with Gods will (Weber, 1930: 153). In common with Nietzsche, it appears that
Weber views the construction of inner distance as being reflexively constituted
through adherence to a form of life defined by its accordance with Gods will.
In the light of these accounts, it follows that both Nietzsche and Weber regard
modern individuals as possessing the capacity to determine themselves; the
problem posed by modern culture thus concerns the possibility of actualizing
this capacity. It is at this stage that Nietzsche and Weber confront the
disenchantment of the world, that is, the death of God; for whereas the Christian
individual is able to constitute inner distance through adherence to publicly
defined moral practices, that is, a structure of values, the modern individual is
confronted by the collapse of public morality in the face of science and the

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84

growth of moral relativism. For Nietzsche, this manifests itself in the modern
individual as the struggle of different drives, each one of which embodies a kind
of lust to rule; each one has its perspective that it would like to compel all the
other drives to accept as a norm (Nietzsche, 1968b: 267). For Weber, this
manifests itself in modern society as polytheism. It is notable that Weber makes
reference to Nietzsche in articulating this position: since Nietzsche, we realize
that something can be beautiful, not only in spite of that aspect in which it is not
good, but rather in that very aspect (Weber, 1948: 148). What is involved here
for Weber is the recognition that the ultimately possible attitudes toward life are
irreconcilable and life knows only of an increasing struggle of these gods with
one another (Weber, 1948: 152). In this context, Nietzsche and Weber both
argue that the constitution of inner distance demands the decisive choice of a
leading drive or value; it is through this choice and adherence to the demands it
makes that the individual articulates the labour of self-overcoming which
denotes the determination of the self. In the case of Nietzsche, the necessity of
the choice of a leading drive is presented indirectly in terms of a distinction
between a weak will and a strong will:
Weakness of the will: that is a metaphor that can prove misleading. For
there is no will and consequently neither a strong nor weak will. The
multitude and disgregation of the impulses and the lack of any systematic
order among them results in a weak will; their coordination under a single
predominant impulse results in a strong will: in the first case it is the
oscillation and lack of gravity; in the latter, the precision and clarity of
direction. (Nietzsche, 1968b: 28)
In Weber, this need is explicitly stated: the ultimately possible attitudes toward
life are irreconcilable, and hence their struggle can never be brought to a final
conclusion. Thus, it is necessary to make a decisive choice (Weber, 1948:152).
The central issue, though, is that both Nietzsche and Weber argue that, within
modem culture, it is possible to breed a type of man who exemplifies the
characteristics of autonomy and self-expression, that is, an individual who
determines the self through the choice of and adherence to a leading drive or
value.

VISIONS OF AUTONOMY - PERSONALITY AND


STYLE

The possibility of breeding a self-determining individual in modernity, an


individual who unifies the will through the affirmation of certain constant values
in the face of the impersonal forces which increasingly dominate the modern
world (Schroeder, 1991: 3), raises two questions. First, how is this selfdetermination articulated? How is the leading drive or value affirmed and

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85

re-affirmed in everyday existence? And secondly, how is the form of individuality constituted by this activity conceived?
For Nietzsche, the unification of the will is constituted through the activity of
giving style to ones character under the constraint of a single taste (Nietzsche,
1974: 232). Despite Nietzsches deployment of an aesthetic vocabulary, this
position does not appear to be far removed from Webers notion of giving
personality to ones character through the constraint of a constant and intrinsic
relation to certain ultimate &dquo;values&dquo; and &dquo;meanings&dquo; of life (Weber, 1975: 192).
Yet it is Nietzsches use of an aesthetic vocabulary which marks a moment of
separation in terms of how self-determination is practically articulated. This
emerges in considering the modes of judging the style of personality of a
character which Nietzsche and Weber deploy.
Nietzsches criteria of judgement are constituted by the capacity of the
individual to affirm the doctrine of eternal recurrence.2 What is involved in this
affirmation is set out by means of a psychological allegory:
What if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your
loneliest loneliness and say to you: This life as you now live it and have
lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and
there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every
thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will
have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence ....

(Nietzsche, 1974: 273)


Nietzsche, only the individual who has made his or her life a work of art
self-referential totality - could affirm this thought in good faith. The single
taste, the leading drive, is maintained precisely by the activity of making ones
life a work of art under the constraint of this taste. By contrast, Webers
criteria of judgement consist in the individuals capacity for doing justice to
the &dquo;demands of the day,&dquo; in human relations as well as in our vocation
(Weber, 1948:156) through sole devotion to the needs of his work and only
his work (Weber, 1948: 137). The consequences of this difference in the
characterizations of the criteria of judgement which mark the self-determining
individual are clarified in the readings offered by Nietzsche and Weber of the
significance of Goethe as an archetype for modern man. Nietzsches view is
For
-

unequivocal:
Goethe - not a German event but a European one ... he did not sever
himself from life, he placed himself within it; nothing could discourage him
and he took as much as possible upon himself, above himself, within
himself. What he aspired to was totality; he strove against the separation of
reason, sensuality, feeling, will ... he disciplined himself to a whole, he
created himself. (Nietzsche, 1968a: 102)

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86

Webers

reading, however,

is beset

by uncharacteristic hesitancy

and

equivo-

cation :

Ladies and gentlemen. In the field of science only he who is devoted solely
the work at hand has personality. And this holds not only for the field
of science; we know of no great artist who has ever done anything but serve
his work and only his work. As far as his art was concerned, even with a
personality of Goethes rank, it has been detrimental to take the liberty of
trying to make his life into a work of art. And even if one doubts this, one
has to be a Goethe in order to dare to permit oneself such a liberty.
Everyone will admit at least this much: that even with a man like Goethe,
who appears once in a thousand years, this liberty did not go unpaid for.
to

(Weber, 1948: 137)


Despite the qualifications

Weber introduces into this passage, it is manifestly


that
he
is
concerned
to distance himself from the idea of selfapparent
ones
life
a
work
of art, an idea embodied in Nietzsches
consciously making
doctrine of eternal recurrence.
To summarize: it appears that whereas Nietzsche conceives of the autonomy
of the self as being expressed in the aesthetic unity of the will, in the artistic form
of the individuals life, Weber regards this autonomy as expressing itself in
devotion to the demands of the individuals work. Thus while Nietzsche and
Weber locate autonomy as constituted by an ongoing labour of self-overcoming,
the way in which the individual monitors this self-overcoming and the form of
individuality which is its telos appear to be differently conceived. It appears, in
Yeatss words, as if The intellect of man is forced to choose / Perfection of the
life, or of the work (Yeats, 1974: 153) and whereas Nietzsche opts for the
former, Weber chooses the latter.*To explicate this difference, one might refer to
Webers claim that [1]imitation to specialized work, with a renunciation of the
Faustian universality of man which it involves, is a condition of any valuable
work in the modern world (Weber, 1930:180) and counterpose this to
Nietzsches view that Goethe called to his aid history, the natural sciences,
antiquity, likewise Spinoza, above all practical activity (Nietzsche, 1968a: 102).
No doubt such an approach might shed insight into the reasons mobilized by
Nietzsche and Weber for their visions of autonomy, yet the concern here must be
initially to pose the question of whether the difference elucidated here is as
significant as it at first appears or whether it marks, rather, merely a difference in

emphasis.
To give style to ones character, to become what one is, marks out the
self-determining individual for Nietzsche. In this respect, Ecce Homo with its
subtitle How one becomes what one is may be read as an attempt on
Nietzsches part to articulate his own autonomy. It cannot be insignificant,
therefore, that this text proceeds by indicating Nietzsches sole devotion to his
work and indeed consists for a large part in accounts of his published work. In

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87

this context, it may not be overly an exaggeration to suggest that the means by
which one gives oneself style, makes ones life a work of art, is by devotion to
ones work. Further evidence for this view is provided by Nietzsches central text
Thus Spoke Zarathustra. In the final section of this work, Zarathustra - having
overcome the final temptation posed as an obstacle to his affirmation of the
thought of eternal recurrence - prepares to leave his cave and go down to the
world once more; amongst his final remarks is the following revealing comment:
My suffering and my pity - what of them! For do I aspire after happiness? I
aspire after my work! (Nietzsche, 1961 : 336). If this represents a tentative
argument for viewing Nietzsches position as closer to Webers than initially
appears the case, we can also perceive this closeness from the other direction.
This emerges in a story recently cited by Hennis in which Weber replies to the
question of his leading value by stating that he has no leading value and then
proceeds to clarify this strange answer:

Imagine that hanging from the ceiling of my study there are violins, pipes
and drums, clarinets and harps. Now this instrument plays, now that. The
violins, that is my religious value. Then I hear harps and clarinets and I
my artistic value. Then is the turn of the trumpet and that is my value
of freedom. With the sound of pipes and drums, I feel the values of my
fatherland. The trombone stirs the various values of community, solidarity. There are sometimes dissonances. Only inspired men are able to
make a melody out of this - prophets, statesmen, artists, those who are
more or less charismatic. I am a scholar who arranges knowledge so it can
be used. My instruments are to be found in bookcases, but they make no
sound. No living melody can be made out of them. (Hennis, 1988:165)
sense

Leaving aside Webers somewhat disingenous modesty, what is significant about


this tale is that Weber links the possession of a leading value to the capacity to
give the will, which is constituted by these different values or drives, an aesthetic
unity. On this account, the difference between Nietzsches and Webers
positions resolves itself into a difference in emphasis: on the one hand, Nietzsche
confronts autonomy as the self-reflexive constitution of ones life as a work of art
where this reflexivity articulates devotion to ones work; on the other hand,
Weber confronts autonomy as the self-reflexive devotion to ones work where
this reflexivity articulates the aesthetic unity of the self.
CONCLUSION

The aim of this brief article was to suggest that Webers account of modernity is
structured about the Nietzschean question of the type of man one should will
and the possibility of realizing this type in modernity. First, it was noted that
Weber shares Nietzsches concern with the consequences of the levelling of man

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88

in modernity and the collapse of public morality in the face of science. Secondly,
it was illustrated that both Nietzsche and Weber locate a potential for breeding a
human type possessing the attributes of autonomy and self-expression in the
development of Menschentum under Christian asceticism. This potential, they
argue, can be actualized in the polytheistic culture of modernity by the choice of
and adherence to a leading drive or value. Finally, it was suggested that, despite
differences in emphasis, Nietzsche and Weber both view the manifestation of this
human type in modernity as predicated on a labour of self-overcoming which
constitutes the aesthetic unity of the will. In this respect, it is difficult not to
conclude that the entire meaning of Webers melancholy meditations on the
&dquo;modern soul&dquo; presupposes the paths in thought traversed by Nietzsche (Scaff,

1989: 133).

Although this article has merely touched on the question of Webers


relationship to Nietzsche, the argument developed here does suggest that
Webers sociology embodies a genealogical project of evaluation in the sense that
it articulates a critique of modernity from the perspective of an immanent
possibility in modem culture. In other words, the human type which Weber sees
as the dominant type in modernity, that is the individual as an instrument, is
criticized from the perspective of an alternative human type for whom
modernity articulates the requisite conditions of possibility, that is the
autonomous individual. This reading of Weber, though requiring further
investigation, does suggest that questions need to be raised concerning both the
interpretation of Weber as engaging in a value-free activity and the possibility no ! desirability - of a value-free social science.
NOTES
An earlier draft of this paper was presented to the BSA Max Weber Studies Group in
November, 1989. I am grateful to Martin Albrow, Irving Velody and the readers of the

journal for their comments on a previous draft.


1
2

Nietzsche, 1968a: 116.


Weber, 1980: 437, cited in Hennis, 1988: 53.

3 Hennis cites the following remarks by Weber: The honesty of the present day scholar,

and above all a present day philosopher, can be measured by his attitude to Nietzsche
and Marx. Whoever does not admit that considerable parts of his own work could not
have been carried out in the absence of these two, only fools himself and others. The
world in which we spiritually and intellectually live today is a world substantially
shaped by Marx and Nietzsche (Hennis, 1988: 146).
4 See, for example, Fleischmann, 1964; Eden, 1983; Schroeder, 1987; and Hennis, 1988:
146-62.
5 See Magnus,

1988 for a discussion of the problems attendant on the use of Nietzsches


unpublished writings. In his terms, the use of Nietzsche in this article marks it as
expressing the lumper attitude, though it has this in common with the work of
Heidegger, Jaspers and Deleuze among others.

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89
6 This aim may be read
7

10

11

12

as an attempt to develop Henniss claim that Weber shares


Nietzsches passionate interest in human "type" (Hennis, 1988: 161).
I accept without reservation Henniss idea that Webers central question is with the
development of Menschentum (Hennis, 1988: 21-61), yet I would suggest that this
does not fully explicate this question and requires supplementation by an understanding of this question as structured about a principle of evaluation (cf. Weber, 1973: 517,
cited in Hennis, 1988: 59). In this respect, I think Schroeders argument that Webers
sociology embodies a conception of the self to which autonomy and self-expression
are essential attributes (Schroeder, 1991) usefully supplements Henniss discussion.
Nietzsches and Webers views of science display a remarkable congruence. Not only
does Weber cite Nietzsche as an authority in dismissing the idea that science leads to
happiness (Weber, 1948: 143) but he similarly echoes Nietzsches claim that there is no
such thing as a science without presuppositions (Nietzsche, 1969: 151-2; Weber,
1948: 143-4). In this context, one must surely agree with Löwith that: Webers
"methodological" question as to the value of science is basically the same question that
Nietzsche posed in regard to philosophy when he inquired after the meaning and value
of "truth" - for "what sense could our existence have, if not the sense that within us
this urge toward truth has become conscious of itself as a problem
?" (Löwith,
1982: 30). A similar point is made in Strong, 1988: 316 in relation to the common
problematic posed for Nietzsches teaching of the Overman and Webers teaching of
science as a vocation. The problematic Strong locates concerns the possibility of
teaching without denying what one asserts.
Alexander examines Webers view of the modem ethos of flight by comparison with
that articulated by Sartre. While this is illuminating, it would surely make more sense
to raise the question of where Weber inherits this concern from rather than how it
re-emerges in latter thinkers.
Hennis suggests that Webers ideal-type of Christianity is taken over completely from
Nietzsche (Hennis, 1988: 159).
The need for this redirecting of ressentiment emerges from the triumph of
Christianity, the absorption of the noble into the herd. For Christianity to retain its
explanatory force, it follows that another Other is required. An interesting account of
this redirecting is offered by Deleuze, 1983: 111-33.
This reading of eternal recurrence owes much to the work of Nehamas, who argues
that Nietzsches view with regard to the individual is concerned with the ethicalpsychological consequences of the belief that if ones life were to recur, it could only
recur in identical fashion, rather than the ethos of indifference which might logically
follow (cf. Nehamas, 1985: 141-69). Max Weber has the following to say about eternal
recurrence: Fatalism is, of course, the only logical consequence of predestination. But
on account of the idea of proof the psychological result was precisely the opposite. For
essentially similar reasons the followers of Nietzsche claim a positive ethical
significance for the idea of eternal recurrence. This case, however, is concerned with
the responsibility for a future life which is connected with the active individual by no
conscious thread of continuity, while for the Puritan it was tua res agitur
(Weber,

1930: 232).

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90

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Alexander, J.

C. (1987) The dialectic of individuation and domination: Webers


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