Science as a Vocation, Philosophy as a Religion


  • Ian Hunter Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Queensland



Weber, Frankfurt School, scholarship, ethics, Hegelianism


When Max Weber delivered his “Science as a Vocation” lecture in 1917 it was to an audience of students facing war and political conflict, and shaped by its membership of activist youth groups whose ideologies were informed by left-Hegelianism. Resisting the clamour for a political message that would light the path to a progressive future, Weber told the students that such philosophical prophecy betrayed the office of the scholar. This consisted in transmitting the “value free” methods that characterised empirical fields, and the ethical disciplines that students had to undergo in order to master these methods. The paper argues that when the Frankfurt School rejected Weber’s approach it did so on the basis of a critique that amounted to a cultural-political attack grounded in the left-Hegelianism that he had repudiated.




How to Cite

Hunter, I. (2018). Science as a Vocation, Philosophy as a Religion. Sociologica, 12(1), 137–153.



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