Henrik Kreutz Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg Department of Sociology Findelgasse 7 D-90402 Nürnberg

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Starting with the typology of action as conceived by Max Weber the explication of the terms introduced by him shows that these concepts are by far too crude and that he omitted several important types of action. On the one side, affective behaviour and emotional action have to be differentiated since the latter is by no means irrational. Fritz Heider for example spoke of a "logic of emotions" decades ago. On the other side, rationality in the sense of "Zweckrationalität" has to be conceived as a from of addictive behaviour. It is true, as Gary S.Becker has shown, That we can speak of rational addiction", but it is clear that if person  becomes totally dependent on a drug or an ideological goal, his behaviour becomes selfdestructive and this can hardly be named "rational". A third serious problem of Weber's typology of action is that he never made quite clear what a "value rational" ertrational) action means. On the basis of the so called "pattern variables", defined by Talcott Parsons, and this theory os socialisations an attempt is made in this article to delver an explication of the term of "Wertrationalität" (value-rationality). On the basis of the 5 pattern variables, each being conceived as consisting of five dichomoties, 32 possible action orientations are dervied, and some of these can be identified as different types of rationality. If we conceive "Wertrationalität" and Zweckrationalität" on this basis, we find that "value rationality" always implies a more complicated calculation than "Zweckrationalität". Furthermore, it implies often enough, that not all the means should be used , even if a person could dispose of them. Seen on the short run, "value-rational" orientation therefore implies a  handicap if a person has to compete with a "zweckrational" actor. Therefore one schould expect an evolutionary process by wich "value-rational" actors are omitted from the social system as "loosers". A detalied analysis shows, however, that persons with a universalistic value  orientation have a superior chance to from common value systems with those who are also universalistically oriented, if they act in a value-rational way, and that they therefore have superior chances in the competition with "zweckrational" actors on the long run. A second very serious disadvantage of "zweckrational" actors was detected already by Max Weber himself: "Zweckrationalität" itself becomes  in its purest form an addiction. Success is sought in this case only because it is successful. If success is the ultimate goal of "zweckrational" orientation for its own sake (as a thrill), action becomes totally irrational. This will be the consequence, because  no material goals exist anymore, and the ultimate goal of action gets a formal character. Therefore the final result of "zweckrational" action is a basically nihilistic orientation.

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Review of Sociology
Language English
Year of
Founder A Magyar Szociológiai Társaság -- Hungarian Sociological Association
H-1097 Budapest, Hungary Tóth Kálmán u.4.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 1417-8648 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2845 (Online)