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Max Weber in America$
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Lawrence A. Scaff

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691147796

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691147796.001.0001

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The Protestant Ethic

The Protestant Ethic

(p.137) Eight The Protestant Ethic
Max Weber in America

Lawrence A. Scaff

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the significance of Max Weber's time in Pennsylvania, and particularly his experience of the Fifth Day Quaker service, to his thesis about the Protestant ethic. It first describes Max and Marianne Weber's itinerary in the District of Columbia before discussing Max Weber's two engagements: a meeting with the president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), Samuel Gompers; and an opportunity to observe the religious service of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church. It then considers some of the main arguments put forward by Weber in The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism, and how the Quakers' Fifth Day service influenced his written work. It also analyzes Weber's meeting with scholar William James in Cambridge, Massachusetts, along with their thoughts on two fundamental issues: the problem of the relationship between ideas and action, and the question of the “rationality” of experience.

Keywords:   action, Max Weber, Pennsylvania, Protestant ethic, Samuel Gompers, Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, Quakers, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, William James, experience

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