Main Currents in Sociological Thought: Durkheim, Pareto, Weber - Vol. 2

By Raymond Aron; Richard Howard et al. | Go to book overview
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VI
The Significance of Pareto's Work

To WHAT EXTENT has Pareto succeeded, in terms of the intentions which I have attributed to him and which he has manifested, in studying society scientifically? That is, to what extent has Pareto made a logical study of nonlogical behavior?

A first answer to this question comes immediately to mind. According to Pareto, a logico-experimental study of nonlogical behavior should be morally and politically neutral, free of value judgments and sentiments; he himself repeatedly says that there is no logico-experimental solution to the problem of human behavior. But it is obvious, even more from a reading of the Treatise than from my account, that Pareto's sociology is full of sentiments and value judgments. Pareto has his favorite targets, his pet hates, his regular scapegoats—an attitude which is not so different from that of other sociologists, and above all of politicians, but which in principle does not agree with the objective and neutral aim of science that he endlessly professed. This contrast between a vaunted aim of pure science and a display of sentiment will be the point of departure of my analysis.

First of all, what kinds of men and ideas are the objects of his irony and invective? It seems to me that this is an approximate list:

He has a horror of those associations and propagandists whom he

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