The world of modernity is a disenchanted world

According to Weber, what was salient about the culture of modernity was the large and increasing extent to which its values were those of instrumental rationality. Certain ends are taken as given and rationality is taken to consist in calculation as to the most efficient means to achieve those ends. Instrumentality rationality is socially embodied in the bureaucratic structures both of private corporations and of governments. And the public social world increasingly becomes one in which there is no place for any other values, in which the domination of nature and the remaking of society through the exercise of technical intelligence provide the taken for granted ends to be achieved by bureaucratic and technological means. Within such a culture little place in left for what Weber called ›sacred values‹, for that which had given to life in premodern cultures a magical or enchanted quality. The world of modernity is a disenchanted world in which only in certain limited areas of the private lives of individuals does there remain any place for values that escape disenchantment, whether values surviving from traditional religion or, increasingly for those educated into modernity, the values of art.

Alasdair MacIntyre, Edith Stein: A Philosophical Prologue 1913–1922 (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), 156.


Stefan Björk

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