Durkheim, Schopenhauer and the Relationship Between Goals and Means: Reversing the Assumptions in the Parsonian Theory of Rational Action* Academic Article uri icon


  • Scholars have approached Durkheim's thought primarily from the starting point that he was a positivist. Although Schopenhauer's philosophy is not generally invoked in Durkheim's work, it appears that Schopenhauer's philosophy supplanted Comte's positivism at the turn of the century and that Durkheim was enamored with Schopenhauer's philosophy. In this essay Schopenhauer's influence upon Durkheim is traced, and the implications of this influence are discussed in terms of their effect upon sociology. By applying this starting point to Durkheim's thought and the Parsonian‐Mertonian goals‐means schema, it is demonstrated that Durkheim, like Schopenhauer, assumed the opposite of the Enlightenment belief that human reason could dominate passion. Implications for interpreting Durkheim's work are also discussed. Copyright © 1988, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

author list (cited authors)

  • Meštrović, S. G.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Meštrović, Stjepan G

publication date

  • April 1988