versión impresa ISSN 1517-4522
HIGGINS, Silvio Salej. The study of unintentional effects of intentional action in the sociological theory. Sociologias [online]. 2011, vol.13, n.28, pp. 258-282. ISSN 1517-4522. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-45222011000300009.
In the 18th century, Scottish scholars identified the paradox that social sciences would have to face later on: history is made by human beings, though it does not obey a human plan. In this article, we reconstruct the rank of this central problem in the tradition of the sociological theory. We start from the analysis of Adam Smith, in his attempt to build a social science of wealth production. Then we deal with the first theses of Robert K. Merton in the domain of the sociological theory. We examine the way in which Raymond Boudon analyzes the problem from the perspective of methodological individualism and the way that Anthony Giddens incorporates this paradox in his explanation of social reproduction. In a preliminary evaluation, we point out the limitations of Mertonian functionalism in explaining nonintentional effects of intentional action, although, at the same time, we emphasize that methodological individualism does not provide an alternative concept for causality. In the end, we lay out the ideological debate that unfastens this paradox between structuralist and reductionist sociologies.
Palabras llave : Combinatory effects; Functional causality; Social dilemmas.