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Raymond BOUDON - LA RATIONALITÉ DU RELIGIEUX SELON MAX WEBER | JSTOR - L'Année sociologique - Vol. 51, No. 1 (2001), pp. 9-50
LA RATIONALITÉ DU RELIGIEUX SELON MAX WEBER - L'Année sociologique (1940/1948-), Troisième série, Vol. 51, No. 1 (2001), pp. 9-50 -- One of the most striking features of Weber's writings on religion is the frequency with which he uses the word rationality. This derives from the metatheory grounding in his mind the interpretative method. This metatheory asserts that the meaning to an individual of his beliefs should be seen as the main cause explaining why he endorses them. Weber's religion sociology owes its strength to this theoretical framework. His « rational » conception of religious beliefs does not imply that these beliefs derive from deliberation. They are rather transmitted to the social subject in the course of his socialisation. But they are accepted only if they are perceived by the subject as grounded. These principles inspire Weber's pages on magical beliefs, on animism, on the great religions, on the diffusion of monotheism, on theodicy or the world disenchantment. He shows that religious thinking cares on coherence, tends to verify and falsify religious dogmas by confronting them with observable facts. He develops a complex version of evolutionism, explaining the cases of irreversibility registered by the history of religions, but avoiding any fatalism. He rejects any depth psychology and any causalist psychology in his sociology of religion, the common rational psychology being the only one that can be easily made compatible with the notion of "Verstehende Soziologie", i.e. of « interpretative sociology ». Weber analyses the evolution of religious ideas supposing that they follow the same mechanisms as the evolution of ideas in other domains, as law, economics or science. -- downloaded pdf to Note
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