Paul Charles Freston PAUL CHARLES FRESTON

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Abstract

CARVALHO, Bruno Sciberras de. The social conditions of instrumental action: Problems in the sociological understanding of rational choice theory.Translated byPaul Charles Freston. Dados [online]. 2008, vol.4Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 0011-5258.

This article critically analyzes new sociological approaches to the rational choice theory which - beyond examining political or economic practices - link the notion of instrumental rationality to social issues and themes. The article begins by highlighting the issue of trust, indicating the functionality of certain social arrangements in collective problem-solving. The paper goes on to demonstrate that problems emerge with the theory when it attempts to explain the feasibility of social norms in impersonal, comprehensive contexts. Thus, the fundamental point that appears to be missing from rational choice theory is the perception that individual decisions and instrumental conduct itself incorporate dispositions that in a sense are beyond the actors' control.

Keywords : rational choice; social theory; individualism; rationality.

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