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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C O N C L U S I O N

I SAID in the Introduction that the three writers I would discuss belong to three nationalities and a single historical period and that while their intellectual training was different, they were trying to advance the same discipline.

Taking these initial remarks as the point of departure for this final chapter, I shall first of all isolate the personal and national element in each of the three doctrines. Next, I shall review the historical context in which the three occur and the similar or different interpretations of their historical circumstances that they give. And finally, I shall summarize what seems to be the contribution of their generation to the advance of sociology.

The tone of the three writers varies. Durkheim's is dogmatic; Pareto's is ironic; and Weber's is pathetic. I believe that something of the tone of each has crept into my account.

Durkheim is demonstrating a truth which he wants to be both scientific and moral. Pareto is elaborating a scientific system which holds up to ridicule the illusions of humanitarians and the hopes of revolutionaries and in the end unmasks revolutionary and plutocrat alike. Weber is trying to understand the meaning of all existences, individual or collective, endured or chosen, without concealing either the weight of social necessities pressing on us or the ineluctable obligation to make decisions which can never be scientifically demonstrated.

The tone of each writer is explained both by the temperament of

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