On December 12, the 140th On Tao Forum was held in School of Public Administration in Xingmin Building, Room 634-A. The theme of the lecture was ‘Weber's Political Sociology and our Political Philosophy’. We were honored to invite Professor Chen Dezhong, fellow of Research Office of modern foreign philosophy, Institute of philosophy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, doctoral supervisor of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, secretary-general of Chinese Modern Foreign Philosophy Society, to be the keynote speaker. Professor Li Zhixiang from Department of Philosophy, School of Public Administration held the post of host and reviewer.
At the beginning of the lecture, Professor Chen introduced two principal lines of Max Weber's political philosophy from Williams’ challenge to neo-kantianism. One is human as the existence of value relation. The other is the tension between individual value orientation and community value domain. In his book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber pointed out that culture and ideas played an important role in the process of human society, ethical life and economic life have the same effect on human development, etc. Weber believed that sociology is a discipline that interprets social behavior. According to Weber, the sociological research paradigm characterized by capturing the essence of things was unrealistic, thus we should transform and overtake it. It reflected Weber’s rethink of classical sociology research from the perspective of philosophy.
Then, Professor Chen pointed out that the theory of state sociology was the summit of Weber's political sociology, which showed that Weber's thinking had approached modern political philosophy. Weber studied individual action and social action from two principal lines. One is the conflicts of value orientation between different social groups as well as groups and individuals. The research of modern political philosophy must respond to the question from both perspectives; The other is Weber’s conception of history as determined by heroes. Because of the different sense of social value by different individuals, there was a serious inequality between people's value choice and value ranking. Therefore, Weber placed his hope on charismatic authorities—— the politicians with ambition and lofty ideals, to solve the conflicts between groups and individuals in social life. Professor Chen pointed out that Weber was a classical liberal, who respected the value of individuals but didn’t believe that modern democracy could guarantee the main body participation of the masses. Finally Professor Li made a conclusion and raised his own ideas. He spoke highly of Professor Chen’s thinking method of expounding the academic concept step by step. The lecture ended after Professor Chen answered students’ questions in detail.
This lecture contributed the students to understand Weber’s political and philosophical ideas better and improve their level of academic quality.
(Wang Tiancheng, Li Cenqian)