Keywords: Max Weber; indifference to the world; world mastery; world image; Western development.
This paper analyses the Weberian concept of Weltindifferenz (Indifference to the
World). Despite its peripheral position in the complex structure of Sociology of Religion,
I believe that this concept allows us to highlight some of the fundamental cores
of the Weberian analysis of religious world images (Weltbilder). In particular, what I
want to demonstrate is that the idea of Weltindifferenz offers a new perspective for rethinking the Weberian theory of the inner development of the West. I will base my argument on two elements: the hybrid nature of Weltindifferenz, being it a paradoxical
mixture of rejection and acceptance of the world, and its opposition to the concept of
Weltbeherrschung (World Mastery). Finally, in the concluding remarks, I will focus on
the heuristic potential of this concept with regard to the comprehension of indifference
as a socially and politically relevant phenomenon of the contemporary scenario.