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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 4, 1978

J. N. Kaufman
Pages 138-161

La Conception Meta-Historique dans la Theorie Structurelle-Fonctionnelle de l'Action de Talcott Parsons

The paper examines some implications of Parsonian theory of social change for the philosophy of history. A distinction is made between two concepts of social change, the first concerning transformations within a stable structure, the second concerning transformations of the structure (metamorphose). The principal meta-histori cal postulates underlying the functional analysis of social change are then formulated. They imply a twofold conception of the meaning of history : objective meaning as a functional property of a teleological system, subjective meaning as an intentional correlate of the individual actors. This irreducible duality of system theory and action theory characterizes the whole Parsonian approach to the theory and history of societies.