Why Hermeneutics, the Text(s) and the Biography of the Work Matter in Max Weber Studies
In Max Weber's discussion of Confucianism in historical Chinese society, he was faced with a bureaucracy and a judiciary which was produced by a system of examinations on what he characterizes as literary subjects. Weber, in the series of studies of which his book on China was a part, was concerned with the problem of the development of modern western capitalistic economic rationality that resulted in the rationalization of the world of work, which then carried over into the rest of life. Confucianism, however, is neither simply a literary culture, nor a religion, nor a bureaucratic ideology, nor specialist expertise, but something that is all of these things and perhaps much more. So we are faced with a problem of elaborating an explanation of a systematically different nonwestern phenomenon through the multiplication of western intellectual distinctions, a process which ends in defining problems rather than explaining them.