What is the source of this text?
Student or Learner
Hello, I would appreciate your help, I don't understand this paragraph, can you help me?
"Disenchantment has created a world with no objectively ascertainable ground for one's conviction. Under the circumstances, according to Weber, a modern individual tends to act only on one's own aesthetic impulse and arbitrary convictions that cannot be communicated in the eventuality; the majority of those who cannot even act on their convictions, or the “last men who invented happiness” à la Nietzsche, lead the life of a “cog in a machine. Whether the problem of modernity is accounted for in terms of a permeation of objective, instrumental rationality or of a purposeless agitation of subjective values, Weber viewed these two images as constituting a single problem insofar as they contributed to the inertia of modern individuals who fail to take principled moral action".
Last edited by captain1; 03-Jul-2015 at 19:03. Reason: Adding a context
What is the source of this text?
Do you know what is the meaning?
Why are you studying this very long and abstruse text?
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is one the best, most comprehensive sources of philosophical summaries on the web. It's recommended by university philosophy departments. I've read dozens of them. They are all written by someone who is expert in the specific field. Unfortunately, occasionally such an expert is not a native speaker. I don't know if this author, Sung Ho Kim, is a native English speaker, but his style tends to suggest an undue influence of postmodern obfuscation, which in an essay on the philosophy of social science isn't that surprising.
I find the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy easier to read, though it's not as comprehensive:
PS: No, I can't paraphrase the passage.
**** I am not a teacher ****
Captain1, do you have a specific part in the above paragraph that you wish to understand better? After reading it many times, I have a very vague understanding of it. But I am handicapped by my lack of knowledge of Western philosophy or social science. Certain terms/words have a specific meaning in the context of philosophy or social science. For example, I found that 'disenchantment' has a specific meaning in social science. Similarly, "instrumental rationality" has a specific meaning. It would be possible to unravel the meaning term by term, sentence by sentence, but I would not be confident if I would arrive at the intended meaning. In short, if I understand it correctly, the above paragraph is discussing Weber's views on why an individual acts - whether there is a rationale or it is because of his own 'aesthetic impulse and arbitrary convictions'.
I would say that it means something like:
We no longer have objective grounds for our convictions, which means that we tend to act on things like impulse and convictions that are not objectively supported. However, many are unable even to act in this way and are like cogs in a machine. These may be two sides of the same problem acording to Weber.
I agree with Raymott about the postmodern obfuscation- it's a lot of words saying something very unclearly IMO.
And what do you think the meaning of "cogs in a machine?".
Google says workers who don't feel themselves as important, but I don't see it fits.
Maybe the meaning is: people controlled by other people, like fascist who has ability to make people act in his way.
What do you think?