The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

by: Max Weber

Suggested Essay Topics

Weber says that it is "not my aim to substitute for a one-sided materialistic an equally one-sided spiritualistic causal interpretation of culture and of history." Does Weber succeed in avoiding a one-sided explanation of culture and history based on religion? Cite examples.

Weber says that he is not trying to evaluate the social or religious worth of the ideas of the Reformation. How successful is he in avoiding such evaluation? Is his study strengthened or weakened by this desire to avoid evaluation?

Evaluate Weber's attitude towards modern capitalism, particularly as compared to its roots in ascetic Protestantism.

What traits unite the different forms of ascetic Protestantism that Weber presents? What traits distinguish them?

What is an ideal-type? What is the function of the ideal-type in Weber's study?

Explain Weber's account of the role of culture and ideas in historical progress.