The affinity of Adorno’s thought with Benjamin’s and Weber’s, and the comparison of their concepts of constellation (in Weber, “cosmos”) as applied to the historical method, allows us to bring Benjamin and Weber together. The Weberian “ideal type” appears to be a methodological instrument structurally similar to the monads of Adorno and Benjamin, but more linked to empirical historical research than to the necessity of illustrating metaphysics, as is the case with Benjamin. Weber also uses the term Darstellung, which carries the meaning of the exposition, representation, and exhibition of a structure within a series of concepts of historical phenomena. The ideal type presents itself as a “cosmos of conceptual connections”, a Grenzebegriff (limit-concept), a utopian construction that serves to orient a judgment of imputation and furnish a historical representation with “precisely expressed” linguistic and cultural “instruments”. This is an idea that, as a “genetic” concept (that is, capable of recognizing causal connections, the origin and development of a historical phenomenon, without classifying it within a genre), comes to be represented by a system of concepts. It is evident here that Weber’s method – utilized in particular to define the ideal type “capitalism” and more specifically “the spirit of capitalism” – is pragmatically oriented toward heuristic ends: despite this, the affinities with Benjamin’s historical method are quite visible in the choice of terms, in the two philosophers’ shared renunciation of already-given concepts (in favor of producing concepts guided by a regulating idea), and in the renunciation of a deterministic, progressive idea of causal connection. In Weber the historical phenomenon appears determined by a constellation of causes whose fundamental categories are objective possibility and adequate causality, while in Benjamin the causal link is founded on an encounter, in a monadic phenomenon, between present and past in the messianic moment of Jezt der Erkennbarkeit.
Tagliacozzo, T. (2022). La «constelación» del capitalismo entre Walter Benjamin y Max Weber. In M.P. DARIO GENTILI (a cura di), EL CULTO DEL CAPITA L Walter Benjamin: capitalismo y religión (pp. 253-268). Barcelona : Los libros del tabano.