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Talcott Parsons on Action Systems - Dictionary of Arguments

Habermas IV 322
Action system/Parsons/Habermas: after Parsons got to know Malinowski's Freudian personality theory and cultural anthropology, his theoretical perspective shifted: action systems are no longer built up elementarily from their units, they are the starting point. For Parsons, the starting point is now the concept of culture; the systems of action society and personality are declared as institutional embodiments and motivational anchoring of cultural patterns. Elementary units are no longer units of action, but cultural patterns and symbolic meanings. These form configurations, systems of cultural values and interpretations that can be handed down.
Habermas IV 323
1. How should the cultural determination of action systems be thought of?
2. How can the three concepts of order in the cultural, social and personality system be combined with the concept of action from which it could not be built?
Habermas IV 326
Ad 1: Solution/Parsons: Value standards are no longer attributed to individual actors as subjective properties; culturally value patterns are introduced from the outset as intersubjective property. However, they are initially only regarded as components of cultural tradition and do not have normative binding force by their very nature.
Habermas IV 327
Ad 2: From the conceptual perspective of communication-oriented action, the interpretative appropriation of traditional cultural contents presents itself as the act through which the cultural determination of action takes place.
Habermas IV 328
HabermasVsParsons: this way of analysis is blocked by Parsons, because he sees the orientation towards values as an orientation towards objects. See also Objects/Parsons.
Habermas IV 358
Action System/Society/System/Parsons/Habermas: Parsons defined society as an action system from the mid-sixties of the 20th century, whereby culture and language give way to constitutive provisions instead of value-oriented purposive action. (1) In systems of action, the traditional cultural patterns penetrate through the medium of language with the genetically propagated organic equipment of the individual members of society. Collectives, which are composed of socialized individuals, are the carriers of the systems of action.
Moreover, each action system is a zone of interaction and mutual penetration of four subsystems: Culture, society, personality and organism. Each of these subsystems is specialized in a basic function. (2)
Habermas IV 359
Subsystems: since they have a relative autonomy, they are in contingent relationships with each other. However, these are determined to a certain extent by their membership of the common system of action. The subsystems form environments for each other.
Control: for superior control of these basic functions, Parsons postulates a control hierarchy. (3)
Habermas IV 381
At the end of his complex path of thought, Parsons is confronted with the epistemological model of the recognizing subject based on Kant for the action system.
HabermasVsParsons: for the purposes of the foundation of social theory, however, the communication-theoretical model of the subject with its ability to speak and act is better suited than the epistemological one.

1 T.Parsons, Societies, Englewood Cliffs, 1966, S. 5.
2. Ebenda S. 7.
3. Ebenda S. 28

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

ParCh I
Ch. Parsons
Philosophy of Mathematics in the Twentieth Century: Selected Essays Cambridge 2014

ParTa I
T. Parsons
The Structure of Social Action, Vol. 1 1967

ParTe I
Ter. Parsons
Indeterminate Identity: Metaphysics and Semantics 2000

Ha I
J. Habermas
Der philosophische Diskurs der Moderne Frankfurt 1988

Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. I Frankfurt/M. 1981

Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. II Frankfurt/M. 1981

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