Présentation
 
2003 - Volume 44 > Numéro 2

ISSN 0035-2969

Micro-macro transitions :the limitations of rational choice theory in Coleman’s Foundations of Social Theory
Mohamed CHERKAOUI

pp. 231-254

 

The purpose of this article is to analyze some contributions, but above all the limitations, of rational choice theory with regard to the problem of connections between micro and macro. Coleman’s criticisms of Weber’s theory in The Protestant Ethic are examined ; his misinterpretations of Weber, and the metatheoretical bases for them, are brought to light. It is shown that Weber’s theory not only identifies the mechanisms for moving from micro to macro, but that it accounts more effectively for macrophenomena such as capitalism than does the theory of expected utility, and is more useful for understanding the emergence not of a single norm (which rational choice theory itself explains) but a constellation of integrated norms. It then shows how instrumental rationality theory does no more than extend the contributions of traditional sociological approaches to norm emergence, such as Hobbes’, and recalls certain problems to which instrumental rationality theory has not provided satisfactory responses.

 

 

 
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