Rafe Champion on Talcott Parsons
| Peter Klein |
Rafe Champion has posted a working paper, “The Success and Failure of Talcott Parsons,” evaluating Parson’s methodology and comparing it to the approaches of Menger, Mises, and Popper. Here is the abstract:
At least three varieties of methodological individualism can be identified in the modern social sciences, all based on the achievement of Carl Menger. These are the praxeology of Ludwig Mises, the voluntarist theory of social action of Talcott Parsons and the situational analysis of Karl Popper. This paper describes how Talcott Parsons drew on Marshall, Pareto, Durkheim and Weber to foumulate an individualistic “action frame of reference” in his first book The Structure of Social Action (1937). The paper also signals some flaws in his approach which drove him to abandon individualism in his subsequent work and to devote himself to the elaboration of the general theory of social systems, a verbal counterpart to general equilibrium theory in economics.