Robert Merton and Dorothy Emmet: Deflated Functionalism and Structuralism

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (6):817-836 (2014)

Authors
Stephen Turner
University of South Florida
Abstract
Dorothy Emmet, in two books, one of which was based on extensive personal contact with Robert Merton and Columbia sociology, provides the closest thing we have to an authorized philosophical defense of Merton. It features a deflationary account of functionalism which dispenses with the idea of general teleological ends. What it replaces it with is an account of “structures” that have various consequences and that are maintained because, on Emmet’s account, of the mutual reinforcement of motives produced by the structure.
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DOI 10.1177/0048393114522516
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Social Theory and Social Structure.Robert Merton - 1959 - Philosophy of Science 26 (1):53-53.
Aspects of Scientific Explanation; And Other Essays in the Philosophy of Science.Carl G. Hempel - 1965 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 18 (1):67-70.
Rules, Roles and Relations.Dorothy Emmett - 1969 - Philosophical Quarterly 19 (75):182-183.

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