Fundamental Concept of Social System

Let us first define what a social system is in basic words. 

Mitchell (1979: 203) defines a social system as "a multiplicity of human agents engaging directly or indirectly with each other in a social system." 

confined situation Although there may be physical or geographical boundaries, this fundamental social point of reference is that individuals are orientated here in a broad sense, to a shared or interconnected subject' This is according to the description of different groups of relationships such as families, political parties, and so on Social systems can include family groupings and even whole societies.

Parsons' theories on social systems, as well as his theory of action or action approach, are based on his forefathers' beliefs. Parsons evaluated the contributions of numerous social scientists in his massive work The Structure of Social Action (1937), but he emphasized Pareto, Durkheim, and Max Weber in particular. Parsons seeks to show the underlying coherence in most of these thinkers' contributions in this study. By separating the unities. Parsons believed that his search for a universal theory of the social system would be aided. In his perspective, the books he studied included a notion of a philosophy of action that was concealed or present by implication. Max Weber, however, find action theory to be more or less well stated. Let's have a look at some of the early methods to study the notion of a social system.

The Points of View of Utilitarians, Positivists, and Idealists

The utilitarian, the positivist, and the idealist are the three major schools of thought that Parsons separates prior contributions into. The utilitarians have a very individualistic view of social activity. They place a premium on utilitarian rational reasoning at the individual level. As a result, they are unable to accept the reality that social existence is a collective rather than a random consequence.


Utilitarianism is a school of thought, which believes in the fact that pleasure is better than pain. It is a philosophical outlook and is generally associated with the name of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832).

According to this outlook utility is the greatest happiness of the greatest number. The proper goal of all human beings should be maximisation of utility. Bentham believed that good motives are good as far as they lead to harmony of interests of an individual with those of others. Thus utilitarianism is a moral theory which has certain social implications. It holds that nothing is desired for its own sake pleasure that it provides. Since pleasure is the guiding force of this philosophy, the moral rules also are believed to be those which encourage behaviour, which can increase pleasure and reduce pain. 

This concept was applied to the study of economics, administration, and law by Bentham. This viewpoint was shared by classical economists such as Adam Smith, Ricardo, and a few others.

This idea impacted early English sociology as well. Herbert Spencer was one of the most affected sociologists by this ideology.


Auguste Comte coined the word "positivism" for the first time (1798-1897).
This word has also been applied to the various theories of the logical positivist school of philosophy. They believed in the core notion that the manner of varification determined the meaning of a statement.As a result, every assertion that cannot be validated loses its value.
A social theory, according to Parson, is positivistic if it maintains the belief that human activity can be properly described without consideration to the agent's own point of view. He thought utilitarianism was an excellent illustration of a positivistic philosophy.


Idealism is a school of thought that holds that the mind plays a crucial part in the formation of the world as we know it. We may see many forms and uses of idealism throughout history. Because it is comparable to solipsism, its most radical version has been rejected.
Solipsism is the belief that all reality is nothing more than one's own mind at work, and that nothing exists in reality but one's own self.
Idealists, on the other hand, generally acknowledge the exterior or natural world completely. They don't argue that it can be reduced to a simple mental process.
They think that the mind is active and capable of creating and maintaining ways of being that would not otherwise exist, such as law, religion, art, and mathematics.
This philosophy is strongly associated with the eighteenth-century Irish philosopher George Berkeley. He thought that all elements of whatever we are aware of may be reduced to the concepts we have in our heads. The concept of a chair or a cow, for example, already exists.As a result, whether we come upon a chair or a cow, our thoughts recognise it.

As a result, the observer does not create the exterior objects (chair or cow). In reality, Berkeley believed that God actively causes the genuine conceptions of external objects in the human mind.

Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher who lived in the eighteenth century, developed idealism via his critical study into the limitations of conceivable knowledge. Kant thought that we can only know things in the manner that they appear to us inexperience, and that there is no method of knowing things in themselves. He believed that rather than being acquired from the exterior world, the fundamental principles of all science are ultimately anchored in the nature of the mind. Finally, the name G.W.F. Hegal, a nineteenth-century German philosopher, is most strongly linked with this philosophical outlook. Hegal thought that dialectical action, such as thesis, antithesis, and synthesis of free reflective intellect, conceives and sustains the finest achievements of the human spirit (culture, science, religion, and the state). 

Parsons utilizes this categorization in The Structure of Social Action to examine the contributions of important philosophers such as Durkheim, Pareto, and Weber. In their writings, he goes to great pains to bring out aspects of the various schools of thought. Parsons is coaxing out of these writers aspects critical to his knowledge of social action and the creation of his action frame of reference while doing so.


Thank You

Contact Form