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By Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Joseph J. Bien

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Extra resources for Adventures of the Dialectic

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Weber, Gesammelte Aufsiitze, pp. 180-81. 22 / ADVENTURES OF THE DIALECTIC our freedom the work of so many other freedoms. It assumes that we can clarify the choices of others through our own and ours through theirs, that we can rectify one by the other and finally arrive at the truth. There is no attitude more respectful, no objectivity more profound, than this claim of going to the very source of history. History is not an external god, a hidden reason of which we have only to record the conclusions.

Weber is not a revolutionary. It is true that he writes that Marxism is "the most important instance of the construction of ideal types" and that all those who have employed its concepts know how fruitful they are-on condition that they take as meanings what Marx describes as forces. But for him this transposition is incompatible with both Marxist theory and practice. As historical materialism, Marxism is a causal explanation through economics; and in its revolutionary practices Weber never sees the fundamental choice of the proletariat appear.

It is not pure morality, nor is it a chapter in a universal history which has already been written. Rather it is an action in the process of self-invention. He who espouses the politics of understanding is not able to judge from the event alone. If the decision he makes, which is just in itself, should tomorrow, because of its consequences, compromise the values he recognizes, no one will absolve him for having bought his momentary tranquillity at this price. He is not quit with history for acting in the moment according to what seemed just to him.

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