Talcott Parsons

Sociologist, Academic

1902 – 1979

3

Who was Talcott Parsons?

Talcott Parsons was an American sociologist who served on the faculty of Harvard University from 1927 to 1973.

Parsons developed a general theory for the study of society called action theory, based on the methodological principle of voluntarism and the epistemological principle of analytical realism. The theory attempted to establish a balance between two major methodological traditions: the utilitarian-positivist and hermeneutic-idealistic traditions. For Parsons, voluntarism established a third alternative between these two. More than a theory of society, Parsons presented a theory of social evolution and a concrete interpretation of the "drives" and directions of world history.

Parsons analyzed the work of Émile Durkheim and Vilfredo Pareto and evaluated their contributions through the paradigm of voluntaristic action. Parsons was also largely responsible for introducing and interpreting Max Weber's work to American audiences.

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Born
Dec 13, 1902
Colorado Springs
Also known as
  • Talcott Parsons
  • Talkot Parsons
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • Amherst College
  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • PhD, Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg
    Economy
    ( - 1927)
  • Sociology
Employment
  • Harvard University
Lived in
  • Colorado Springs
  • United States of America
  • Belmont
Died
May 8, 1979
Munich

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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