Political Science | European Political Thought from Weber to Habermas
Y675 | 15274 | Scheuerman


This course rests on a simple premise: Max Weber is not only one of
the intellectual giants of recent political and social thought, but
we can only make sense of many of the key figures and movements of
twentieth-century political life by trying to understand how they
confronted Weber’s imposing legacy. Weber’s analysis of
the “rationalization” of modern society, his attempt to provide a
defensible vision of political action amidst the conditions of
a “disenchanted” universe, and his concern with preserving
individual freedom in a world where liberal political forms seem
fragile, constitute the starting point for the theorizing of Carl
Schmitt, Joseph Schumpeter, Leo Strauss, the Frankfurt School,
Jürgen Habermas, as well as many others.

The course begins with an intensive introduction to Weber’s work. We
then examine how a rich variety of authors, located at different
places on the political and intellectual spectrum, offered distinct
responses to Weber in their own work. Only by understanding their
engagement with Weber can we fully make sense of their own
intellectual agendas.

In short, the course is designed as a (selective) survey in recent
European political thought, with special emphasis on the manner in
which Weber played a decisive formative role.