I just said that Weber discerned four idealtypes of social action. And again, I have to postpone the presentation of those four types because I first must explain this word, idealtype, that also became a household term in history and in sociology, and in some other social sciences, thanks to Max Weber. An idealtype is not an ideal thing in the sense that it is something admirable, something worth striving for. You might very well construct an idealtype of fascism and that does not mean that you find fascism an attractive ideology. Weber suggests that historians and sociologists try to get a grip on the chaotic and stillborn reality that they are confronted with, by constructing models in which they include some aspects of the subject matter that they study as being characteristic. And by omitting many other aspects that may be found in the world out there but that they consider to be not essential. I like to compare it with a caricature of a well known politician. Everybody recognizes the image, not because it is a photorealistic portrait, but because the artist has only stressed those facial traits that we associate with this famous politician, and left out all the other aspects. Now, Weber stresses time and time again, that the ideal typical representation is not reality, itself. The real world out there is more muddy, less transparent, more chaotic. So in our idealtypes, we simplify, we streamline, reality. And this, he says, is in fact what social scientists have always done in the past, but they were not reflexively aware of their own methodological trick. For example, although Squanto did not describe the theological stage in human thought, he constructed his own idealtype of that theological stage. Tocqueville wrote about an ideal typical democracy. Karl Marx did not analyze the really existing capitalist system, he analyzed his own ideal typical representation of capitalism. And the error that he and many other social scientists made was that, he believes that his model was actually empirical reality. Which may explain by the way, why the capitalists system that he constructed in this study room, had to ultimately fall to pieces, whereas the really existing capitalism appeared to be more flexible and more robust. Now, one of the gravest and most common errors in the social sciences is to ignore that your ideal typical construction is not the real thing. So then the question is, why should we do that? Why build models of reality whose correspondence with what is is actually going on out there is unclear? And here, Weber gives an answer that may remind the philosophically inclined students amongst you of the idealism of Kant. Weber says there is just no other way. If you want to come up with an interesting hypothesis about the relationship between Protestantism and capitalism, then you must first start by creating your own model of the Protestant ethic and your own model of the spirit of capitalism. In choosing the defining characteristics, you try to approach a certain degree of objectivity, but there always remains an element of coincidence. And that is not a disaster as long as you realize that this is just your idealtype, an instrument that you produce in your own study room, comparable to the ruler that the carpenter has made in order to be able to measure his object. Idealtypes, for example, help us when we use the comparative method. You remember that method, that according to August Comte, is so important in sociology. If you want to compare, let's say, the French Revolution with the Russian Revolution or with the Cuban Revolution, the first thing to do is to construct an idealtype of the revolution. All over his work, Weber presents classifications and concepts that are, whether he explicitly stresses it or not, idealtypes. Rational behavior, the bureaucratic organization, charismatic authority, even value-free science, or the Protestant ethic of the spirit of capitalism, those are all idealtypes. And they have all been extremely helpful in generating interesting hypothetical suggestions. Weber says that an idealtype should make sense. It must not be intrinsically inconsistent. It has to be [FOREIGN], everything must fit. You could compare it to what computer gamers tell us about virtual reality. In a good computer game, they say the virtual world must feel like a real world, a universe where you feel at ease. A world that, in principle, could exist. Now when you construct a virtual reality model of the spirit of capitalism and a virtual reality model of the Protestant ethic, you can try to combine the two. And then you may come up with an interesting idea about how they are interrelated. And that idea can then be operationalized in hypothetical statements. Statements that can be tested in empirical, known virtual reality in the social world out there.