DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 5 Vilefredo Pareto (1848—1923)

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 5 Vilefredo Pareto (1848—1923)

Question 1.
Discuss Pareto’s theory of nature and sociology.
Critically examine Pareto’s Thesis that Sociology is a Logico Experimental Science.
It was fervent desire of Pareto in his scientific retarches to discover a means of rationally explaining the pervasiveness of irrationality and non-rationality in human behaviour.’ It was particularly endeavoured by Pareto to expand his capabilities as a social scientist in explaining human activity beyond the scope of economic theory which became to believe was insufficiently broad to grasp the total subject matter. This was the framework within which, Pareto thought, the development of sociology’s theoretical task was essentially a logical extension of economic. Viewing from this angle, Pareto called sociology as the social science which dealt with non-logical action of people. Pareto tried to give a new direction to sociology i.e. scientific sociology.

By scientific sociology Pareto means a “logico-experimental science” which is based on the observation of – an experimentation with the facts. In it nothing is said which is devoid of facts. Thus no a priori element or principle is to enter in, or to be admitted to, sociology according to Raymond from Pareto’s sociology has its origin in the reflections and disappointments of an engineer and an economist. The engineer unless he is making mistake behaves in a logical manner. The economist so long as he is under no illusions as to his own knowledge, is capable of understanding, certain aspects of human behaviour.

Outside these two particular areas, according to Pareto sociology is generally at the mercy of man who behave neither like engineer nor like speculators. The propositions of sociology are a descriptions of the facts and their uniformities. The facts are never absolute ^ but relative, and are subject to change as soon as new facts reveal their inaccuracy. There is no room for categories ‘necessity,’ inevitability,’ ‘absolute truth’ or ‘absolute determinism’ etc. in such a science. Being based on the principle of, and being measured according to, the theory of probability, its propositions are only more or less probable. Nothing that is beyond observation or experimentation may become the object of such a science. Logico- experimental, sociology has nothing to say about trans empirical problems.

According to Pareto ‘Comte’s or Spencer’s ‘sociologies’ are almost as unscientific as those theological and religious theories which they criticise. Under other names these and other sociologies have introduced’ into their theories the same ‘super-factual and super-experimental entities, Moral evolution, dogmatism “religion of progress and Evolution,” religion of Positivism’ and soon which are nothing but the super-observational and super-factual entities and absolutes of the criticised religious doctrines, only slightly changed.” Such theories and propositions scattered throughout contemporary social and sociological thought preaching what ought not to be, one not theories but only modifications. It has also been pointed out by Pareto that they are not based on facts nor do they describe the characteristics and uniformities of – the facts. Such theories dogmatically postulate some entities which are beyond observation and administration and these are not reliable and practicable.

The function of science was limited to the logico-experimental method. ‘Furthermore, science is precluded by this circumscription from passing judgements upon or participating in the construction of the ultimate values and goals of society, since the nature of values is established upon non-logical evaluations and not upon, logico .experimental method. Therefore, and in contradiction to Durkheim. presumptions, science can not be a secular substitute for religion not for traditional morality.’ This augment -had no place in the ideas of Comte and Durkheim.

Pareto’s science is constituted fundamentally of observation, experiment and reasoning. He points out that, ‘the logico-experimental science must dismiss all extra or meta-empirical notions. All concepts must be defined in terms of observed or observable facts,, they must correspond to realities which we can either percieve directly or create by experimentation. All other notions, of a religious kind or of a philosophical order, must be rigorously excluded from science. Nothing that transcends experience has a place in logico-experimental science, and scientific discussion must always pertain to reality, not to the meaning we assign words. Thus anything said or expressed without being based on facts is not part of a science.

Pareto in his Treatise on General Sociology (191.6) severally criticises both Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer for their ‘pseudoscienticism’ and for accosting the superficiality of the secular religions of progress, humanity, and democracy.’ He said, natural sciences were never built up by studying and classifying the terms of ordinary longer age, but by studying and classifying facts. Let us try to do the same for sociology”.

Methodology, According to Pareto there is only One scientific procedure i.e. logico-experimental method.

Here logico means, ‘in terms definitions laid down or relations observed, it is legitimate to deduce conclusions which result from the premises.’

The term experimental includes both observation and experimentation.

The aim of logico-experimental method is to find out ‘experimental uniformities, that is, regular relations between phenomena.’ According to Raymond Aron. ‘The first characteristic of a logico- experimental study of non-logical behaviour is that its sole aim is truth consequently we have no right to reproach it for not being useful,’ Aron further explains that according to Pareto,’ it is the duty of the logico-experimental science to discard all extra or meta- empirical notions ’

Pareto’s procedure of scientific study (logico-experimental method) is as follows: Science always begins with simplifications. It observes certain aspects of certain phenomena, it designates what aspects of phenomena are to be retained by rigorous concepts ; it establishes relations between the phenomena covered by the concepts, and it endevours to combine simplified approaches gradually in order to create the complex reality ”.

Pareto relied heavily on the philosophical method of J.S. Mill of the concept of ‘logical action.’ He states, ‘observation is done an observe?, and the observer is at the same time observed object and observing subject.

Pareto developed two ‘paradigms’ to act as a frame wall for analysis of social action’ :

  • The ‘subject’ in social action was conceived not only as ‘Knower’ but also as actor,’ and
  • this actor knower becomes the ‘object’ of observation by the social scientific himself’.

Pareto acknowledged the ideas of Karl Marx particularly for explaining class-disformony. Pareto wrote in his course, ‘The sociolists are entirely right in emphasing in great importance of the class struggle, and in stating that it is the great dominant fact, in history. In this respect, the works of Marx and Lowa deserve the greatest attention ”.

Question 2.
Explain briefly Pareto’s Theory of Social Factors and Elites.
Social system vary interse and one of the important issues before the sociologists, according to Pareto is to find out the why and wherefore of these differences. According to Pareto various social factors affects the society in different ways. The social system is determined by certain social factors and these, in turn, are also modified by it and thus social factors and social systems are interdependent.

Pareto classifies social factors as ‘(A) The first class of social factors is that of soil, climate and other geographical conditions,

(B) The second class of social factors consist of external conditions which include other societies and past social history of the society,

(C) The last class: is formed by internal conditions which include emotional residues interests and ideals, race, the character of sentiments and their manifestation, feelings and ideologies. This clearly indicates the fact that Pareto rejects the single factor theory. Social reality has been conceived by Pareto as a highly complex phenomena and not capable of being explained by any single factor; there is an interplay and interaction of various factors. Pareto was oppose to determinism and as he is a pluralist and functionalist, he believes in the quantitative analysis of all the social factors and suggests that their mutual- role, concomitance and sequence should be given minute study and careful analysis.

Though Pareto wants to make an accurate science of sociology. Yet he is sufficiently prognatic and realistic to realize that it is not possible to know in detail all the social factors and therefore” suggests that in the study of a particular phenomenon the more important factors may be taken into account and the less important set aside for the time being. According to Pareto, the chief factors are :

(1) Residues, (2) Derivative, (3) Economic factors, (4) Social heterogeneity and (5) Elites.

Theory Of Elites –

In Pareto’s conception the terth elite simply denotes, “a class of people who have the highest indices in their branch of activity”. Thus the successful businessman, the successful artists, the successful writer and the successful professor all elites”.

Pareto’s theory of the elites has exerted wide influence and has proved altogether more acceptable. Calling his theory on the beginning he concentrates solely on the traits of inferiority and superiority and psychological type with making an effort to relate his elites to social groupings and classes’.

Pareto’s strategy is not confrontation but development unlike that of Karl Marx, he constructs social concepts and categories broadly so as to reduce Marxist propositions to mere special cases of a much more generally theory. He is successful in his this Object, as for instance, ‘the concept of ideology is so explained that Marxism itself rates as an ideology. The concept of class rule is transcented by that of elite rule’. The concept of class exploitation is assigned to more generalised concept of “Spoilation” of “renties” by “speculators”. So Pareto’s theory of elite proved to be a substitute of the Marxist analysis stating that the many are always governed by the few, the less able by the more able’. The psychological differences between the strata are held valid whereas socio economic classes aud all other groupings are rejected.

The theory of elites of Pareto particularly where it relates the governing elite concept of psychological type, and even more importantly to vertical mobility gives unique position to Pareto. This theory has given base for many ideas, for instance Schumpeter says it is a system in which elites publicly Compete for the authority to govern, and the writings of Ramond Axon interrelates elites, government and social structure. Furthermore the studies conducted by Hunter of community power structure for the presence of an unidentifiable elite’.

Explaining the meaning of the term ‘class of elites’, Pareto writes, “So let us make a class of people who have the highest indices in their branch of activity, and to that class give the name elite. The elite form the upper classes and are usually also the richest”.

Classes Of Elites –

Pareto has given two classes of elites. These are :
(i) Governing Elites. Persons who are directly or indirectly concerned with administration playing highly important role and enjoying prestigious place in society are included in it. As Pareto writes, “a governing elite, comprising individuals who directly or indirectly play some considerable part in government.”

(ii) Non-governing Elites. Persons who are not connected with administration however enjoy a place, in society to influence the administration.

How elites are formed ?
Pareto explains that a very unequal distribution of power and prestige enables the few to govern the many. Following Machiavellian formula, Pareto states that elites are able to manipulate and control the masses by resorting to two methods :force or fraud. The elites in the society, according to Pareto, emerge because of the following two traits :

(i) Qualities. Thus to includes intelligence, the mathematical ability and love of fine arts, high moral calibre.
(ii) Riches. Pareto says, “The so-called upper classes are also usually the richest”.

These classes represent ‘an elite as they wield influence. Pareto gives a dynamic theory of elites and opposed to ‘closed elite group’ and therefore the distinction of elite and non-elite is always alterable. ‘There is up and down movement of members of elite and non-elite. An elite may degenerate into non-elite and a non-elite may rise to the level of elite. This exchange between classes is technically known as the circulation of elites. According to Pareto any attempt on the part of the governing elites to subvert the process of vertical-mobility will result into equilibrium in the society.

It is not possible for any society to stall social changes (i.e. to keep status grow) and changes are inevitable. Despite its efforts, the governing class is not always able to keep the non-governing class from entering into its bracket which may adversely affect the elite and help the non-elite. As Pareto observes, ‘history is a graveyard of aristocracies’.

The vertical mobility of elite takes place in two ways. (i) ‘some non-elite by their merit may rise to the. level of elite and (ii) by revolution the entire governing class may be reduced to the status of the governed. Pareto holds that circulation of elite is necessary for healty social change. When governing elites obstruct mobility, an imbalance results from it, and unless the governing elite”; finds ways to assimilate the exceptional individuals who come to the front in the subject classes” either by rapid social change or violent revolution the old elite is replaced by a new one capable of governing.

Pareto points out that circulation of elites is due to acquisition or loss of qualities or merits. However for healthy social development, a judicious mixture of the governing elites and non-governing elites is necessary, otherwise the social stability is endangered.

Critical Appreciation

Pareto rightly points out ‘that the society is governed by the affluent or elite’. But his theory of elites has been criticised on the following grounds :

  1. Failure to give comprehensive list of the qualities of elites.
  2. Psychological factors only motivate circulation of elite is incomplete statement.
  3. Historically unapproved.
  4. Failure to distinguish residues mid derivatives’.

Question 3.
What is the concept of residues ? Discuss.
Explain Pareto’s theory of Residues.
Pareto, in the whole first part of Treatise on Sociology has. explained the relation between ‘action’ and ‘state of mind’ by using following diagram:

It was Pareto’s first thesis to say that men’s behaviour is deter-mined by their state of mind and their statements much more than by the reasons they invoke i.e. what determines both C (i.e. theories) and B (i.e. action) is A (i.e. the actor’s state of mind).
DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 5 Vilefredo Pareto (1848—1923) 1

According to Raymond Aron, the more graphidiagram (than that plotted above) now set and it takes account not only of state of mind and expression, A and C, but also of.two other factors : creed, which we shall call B and act, which now becomes D’.
DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 5 Vilefredo Pareto (1848—1923) 2

Aron states that, ‘there exists reciprocal relations between expressions, creed and acts’ Creed may exercise an influence upon acts – the diagram becomes more complicated, but the fundamental idea remains the same.

Residues have been defined by Pareto in the following words : ‘The element a corresponds perhaps to certain instincts of man, or rather of men, because a has no objective existence and differs in different man, and it is probably because it corresponds to these instincts that it is almost constant in phenomena. The element b corresponds to the work accomplished by the mind to account for element a, this is why it is much more rationable, since it reflects the work of the imagination. If part a corresponds to certain instincts, it is very far from including all of them. This is clear from the manner in which it was determined : we analysed rationalisations : we can not have encountered those which are not concealed by rationalisations. There remain then all the simple . appetites, tastes, and inclinations and in the social realm that very important category known as self-interest’.

This passage defining residues clearly establishes that ‘Pareto’ is one of those writers who are habitually more concise when the matter under discussion is more important, and more long-winded when the subject is simple and the reders has already seen the point’

Pareto simplifies the definition of Residues when, he writes, ‘Residues are the manifestations of instincts and sentiments as the elevation of mercury in a thermometer is the manifestation of rise in temperature.”

Features of Residues
Pareto’s dimension highlights following two characteristics of Residues’ :

(1) Residues are not sentiments, the state of mind, A, which we have been talking about. They are intermediary, as it were between the sentiments which we do not know> directly—perhaps not even indirectly—and expressions, acts, C and B.

(2) Residues are related to man’s instinct, but they do not cover all time instincts, since the method we have followed enable us to discover only those of the instincts which give to rationalisations.

Classification of Residues

Pareto classified residues into six groupings which correspond more or less to certain extincts or emotional propensities of mankind :

(1) Residues of .Combination. These are the instinct of combination. In other words it relates to faculty of associating things.

(2) Residues of Persistence of Aggregate. These are the residues of the persistence or perseverance of man’s relations to other men or places. These relate to the conservative tendency of human beings.

(3) Residues of Manifestation of Sentiments through Exterior Acts. These are the residues impelling as to express our sentiments by external acts. For instance, self-expression.

(4) Residues of Sociability. These residues motivate for communal living. These residues derive human beings to form societies and to impose uniform.

(5) Residues of Personal Integrity. These lead human beings to integrate our personality and ward off injurious sentiments. In other words these residues lead human beings to strive for restoration of lost integrity such as those forming the source of criminal law.

(6) Residues of Sexuà1iy. These residues concern the indivi dual’s’ sexual urges.

This c1asif1cation of residues, as Raymond Aron expresses, proves diamatically that human behaviour is structured that residues are not a random affair, that motivation for behaviour is not anarchic, that there is an internal order to human nature, nature, and that one can discover a kind of logic in the non-logico experimental behaviour within society.

Question 4.
Examine Pareto’s Theory of Derivations.
The theory of derivations is another foundation stone of Pareto’s analysis. According to Pareto ‘derivations are those changing elements which account for the development of non-scien- tific theories or rationalisations of human behaviour’. These derivations imply those numerous and ingenious theories by which man seek to rationalise their actions. Unlike his theory of residues, Pareto’s Analysis of ‘derivations’ are less detailed.

Categories of Derivations

Pareto’s analysis of derivations point out four essential categories:

  • Derivations of Assertion. These include admittance of facts as well as sentiments.
  • Derivations of Authority. These derivations include the derivations of authority whatever may be its source i.e. individuals, groups, custotns, or divine sources.
  • Derivations of sentiments. These are the derivations that are in accord with and therefore Serve to maintain common sentiments and principles.
  • Derivations of verbal proof. These include the proof in forms of metaphors and analogies.

Pareto evolved these theories during the course of his over Teaching analytical approach towards ‘non-logical actions of the actor. Pareto focussed on behaviour which is conceived of a logical by the actor but appears objectively non-logical to the observer’. These are the Actions which result into the consequences other than those being pursued by the actor.

Involved in the concept of the residues is the concept of the Derivation and this corresponds, closely enough, with what we now conceive of as “ideologies”. This aspect of Pareto’s residue theory is a major contribution which has exercised on contemporary political science an influence which is direct as well as profound. Indeed, in so far as the founding fathers of Italian Fascism looked Pareto as one of their antecedents,. it can be claimed that it exercised a direct influence upon contemporary political practice. The expression “ideology” first used during the Napoleonic period, owes most of its contemporary meaning to Marx.

For him ideology was the “false consciousness” which sees the world upside d own unlike science (including Marxism itself) which sees it truly- Pareto widened the meaning into roughly what we mean today  a system of thought which makes and rationalises, human predispositions and urges and not simply’the ones that are due to their economic interest or class position. More important, however, has been the associated distinction between the inherent truth or falsity of a belief, and- its social utility, for this is the key to understand the social role of beliefs. Pareto’s position resembles Plato’s doctrine of the “noble life”, his position was of course shared by Sorel and Mosca.

Disciplines like political science and the theory of propaganda have learned to regard beliefs as objective facts in the social situation, as far as social and political action is concerned ; what matters is whether how deeply the beliefs are held.

The role of ideology and propaganda as derivations of the Residue theory cannot be underestimated. These are now the starting points in the comparative analysis of government and politics. They have enormously reinvigorated the discipline and made it far more realistic, many tributaries have fed into the general movement. But Pareto’s work is the only one which incorporates the elite, residue and derivations as positional references.

Question 5.
Write short note on Manifest and Latent functions.
Manifest And Latent Functions
In the study of social institutions, one is faced with the question of their functions, functions implying the use of such groups of organisations or institutions to the society as a whole. By most of the sociologists functions have been classified into two classes ‘latent’ and ‘manifest’.

Question 6.
Evaluate Pareto’s contribution to the history of social thought.
Pareto, in light of Italian Machiavethan social and political theory in its traditional form, and under the influence of the position of Comte, Spencer and social conditions of the Nineteen century, formulated his view of sociology by introducing array of skills and interests.’ According to Raymond Aron (Main Currents in sociological Thought Vol. II) following complexities exist in Pareto’s social ideas :

1. Pareto tried to build a logico-experimental sociology, giving no place to sentiments and value judgements but on the contrary his own sociology is full of sentiments and value judgements. “Pareto has his favourite 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 needlessly professed”. Pareto was opposed to virtuists who try to improve the morals of their follow citizens, and was against bourgeoisie who have lost essence of it’s own interest.

2. Pareto himself being an aristocrat (because of his background) favoured a moderate and refined version of epicureanism thereby opposing both the extremes of puritan moralism and asceticism .

3. Pareto, despite of being a votary of pure science, scientism or over-evaluation of science. This goes against to his original, position to make sociology a logico-experiraental science.

4. Pareto believed that the only true reason is scientific reason but because of the limitations of the scientific reason, he criticised nationalism.

5. Pareto has often been called as the thinker supporting fascism because of some cogent reasons, such as the anti-thesis between maximum utility for and maximum utility of a Collectivity leads to fascist conclusions. As Pareto choose maximum utility of the collectivity, therefore, he was called fascist. However, he was not a political man and Fascist only in a limited sense. Of course, he hailed Fascist revolution as an example of circulation of elites.

However, he favoured a regime at once authoritarian and moderate. Raymond Aron rightly points out “If Pareto car be interpreted as a Fascist, as has often been done, he can also be interpreted as a liberal, and the Paretian argumentation can even be used to justify democratic or pluto-democratic institutions”.

6. Pareto in his ideas opposed several classes of people often belonging to opposite group ideologies and thus the intrinsic meaning of his work has become uncertain.

7. Pareto’s ideology imbibes a kind of inherent contradiction between scientific truth and social utility. Thus Pareto’s message was not clear due to psychological reasons.

8. There exists elements of formalism in Pareto’s social ideas. Aron has pointed out, “Since Pareto is concerned neither with psychological mechanism as defined by Neitzsche or Freud nor with social mechanism as Marx tried to isolate them in concrete societies, the intermediary methods of sociological generalities remains formal. One does not dare say that its results are false, but perhaps they are not very instructive”.

9. Except two classes of residues, others are unimportant so far as their role is concerned.

10. Characteristics of Laissez Faire persist in his ideas. In the words of Raymond Aron, “Whether he means to or not, he teaches, a more or less, resigned acceptance of the way of the world and almost without thinking, dismisses as illusory any effort to change the organization of societies for the better”.

11. Pareto does not give cogent idea about human nature r ther he reflexes dualistic view.
Contributions of Pareto. It is unfair to hold that Pareto derived a doctrine for a particular type of regime. Thus if Pareto, can be interpreted as a Fascist, he then also be interpreted as a liberal democrat, because his writings put forward arguments in favour of many regions and these one capable of being interpreted into a multiple ways. As Raymond Aron puts it, “The regime most desirable for all, at least according to his conception of the good of all, is a regime in which those who govern have the ability at make decisions but do not seek to control everything, and above all do not seek to impose upon the citizens what ..they must think and believe. In other words, Pareto would have favoured a strong and liberal government, from the economic as well as the scientific point of view.”

Pareto’s Theory of Residues and Derivations was his greatest contribution ‘to the development and furtherence of the discipline of sociology.’ However manyscholars are of the opinion that there were many other formulations more important than the theory of Residues and. Derivations. In this regard it is said that, he developed the first really precise statement in the idea of a social syste m that can be analysed in terms of the inter-relationships and reciprocal dependencies between components’.

Pareto’s another contribution was his ‘Theory of Elitism, and the Circulation of. Elites.’ His idea has continued to‘inspire careful and critical investigations of the functional nature of the upper strata of government and industrial classes.’ This contribution of Part to is a remarkable one.

Pareto’s contribution has been held in more high estem by sociologists than it was accorded to it. Talcott Parsons has written that “it seems fair to suggest that his (Pareto’s) reputation and influence have not been as great as they intrinsically deserve?’.

One of the major contributions of Pareto is his emphasis that ‘sociology must be overned strictly by scientific canons and these concepts of society are a system in imperfect contribution.’ One of his influential contributions is “his contribution to the furtherence of sociological theory by distinguishing between truth and utility”.

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes

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