The mind and society - PDF by Vilfredo Pareto (1935)

The mind and society -  Vilfredo Pareto

The mind and society
The mind and society 

v. 1. Non-logical conduct

Vilfredo Pareto's Trattato di Sociologia generde appears in this English edition as the realization of dreams and efforts that extend over fifteen years. My first moves towards the introduction of this work to the English-speaking world go back to 1920 and they were successful in the sense that from that date an eventual publication of the Trattato in English in some form or other was assured. 

I had published what I believe to be the first American note on Pareto December 3, 1915 {Nation)^ and the second in 1916 {hiter- national Year Boo^). These two articles were anterior to Professor Robinson's now-famous footnote on Pareto in his Mind in the Making, 1921. I reviewed Pareto's Trasformazione delta democrazia, with allusions to the Trattato in the New York Herald, April 19, 1922, and gave what I believe to have been the first American course on the Trattato in Will Durant's Labor College in New York in the autumn of that same year. I introduced Pareto for the first time to large audiences at meetings of the Foreign Policy Association in New York in December 1923, and in Philadelphia, January 1924, and lectured on him again at Columbia in the summer of 1924 and during the spring of 1925. 

An article called "The Myth of Good English" which I published in Century, August 1925, and which Edward Valentine Mitchell, of Hartford, included in his Essays of 7925, made explicit reference to Pareto's theory of group-persistences. Disregarding the much writing and lecturing that I did on Pareto between 1925 and 1930, I will note that an article I published in Nation, May 1926, in view of a certain resonance that it chanced to obtain in the West, I at the time regarded and still regard as the beginning of the Pareto vogue in America. 

To summarize, and saving correction, the enterprise that finds its completion in these volumes was at least five years old at the time of the opening of Professor Henderson's epoch-making seminar in Harvard; eight years old when Mr Aldous Huxley first called public attention to Pareto in England; thirteen years old at the time when the Pareto vogue burst upon us in full force as the result of Mr. Canby's notes in the Saturday Revietd/ of Literature, and of Mr DeVoto's brilliant, spirited and effective campaign in that same review and in Harper's, 1933. 

I must beg the reader's forgiveness for mentioning these facts just here in this form. I do so only because a voluminous Pareto literature already exists in which they are different, and some- times fantastically, recounted. This enterprise in publishing has been promoted since 1920 on the assumption that there is no priesthood of learning from which the profane is to be forever excluded by reticence on the part of those who know. It is my faith, which I assert as a faith, and per- haps quia absurdum, that the general public is interested, and has an interest, in objective thinking apart from sentiment, and in the methods by which the rational state of mind can be cultivated in the face of the countless pitfalls that environment, temperament, the struggle for life, strew in our way. I believe — again an act of faith — that the work that is here offered to the public is the greatest and noblest effort in that direction to which literary history can point.

That faith betrays itself, to the extent of the capacities of four words, in the title which I have ventured to give this work in preference to the original title. I am aware that there are other points of view from which Pareto's masterpiece may be envisaged (I even share some of them) and for which the original title would better serve. But from the outset, the chief purpose in this enterprise has been to make the Trattato accessible to the general public to which it belongs. I have called it 

"The Mind and Society" because it illumines the whole relation of thought to conduct, and of thought to sentiment, and the relation of the individual in all his mental processes to the society in which he lives. That particular stress may not reflect Pareto's original stress and intent. It certainly represents his objective achievement.

Some contents:

Statement of points of view. Logico-experimental and non-logical experimental sciences. Differences between them. The experimental field is absolutely and in all respects distinct from the non-experimental field. In these volumes, we are to confine ourselves strictly to the experimental field. Our research is essentially relative, essentially contingent, and all the propositions we enunciate are to be taken as valid only "within the limits of time, space and experience known to us." Such research is in process of continuous development; it proceeds by successive approximations and in no wise aims at attaining the certain, the necessary, the absolute. The language of the logico-experimental and non-logico-experimental sciences and ordinary language. Explanation of various terms that are used in these volumes. Definitions are mere labels that are used to help us keep track of things. Names defined in that way may be replaced at will with letters of the alphabet.
Definition and classification of logical and non-logical actions. The latter are sometimes admirably adapted to the realization of logical purposes. Non-logical action in animals. In human beings. Human language. In human beings, non-logical impulses are sometimes expressed in language. Theology and rites of worship. Theories and the facts in which they originate. Different intensities in different peoples of the forces that hold certain non-logical inclinations together and of the forces that prompt innovation. The Romans and the Athenians, the English and the French. Mysterious powers that words seem to have over things. The extreme limits of theological and metaphysical theories. In the manifestations of non-logical impulses, there is a constant element and an element that is exceedingly variable. Example: Weather-magic. Interpretations adapt themselves to the non-logical inclination of people. They show multiple evolutions. A first encounter with the necessity of making a sharp distinction between the logico-experimental truth of a doctrine and its social utility or any other utility that it may have. The logical form human beings give to non-logical actions.
If non-logical actions are of such great importance how have the many men of talent who have concerned themselves with human societies failed to perceive them? They have perceived them, now taking them into account implicitly, now considering them under other names without arriving at any general theory, now noting the particular case without grasping its general bearing. Examples from various authors. The imperfection, from the scientific standpoint, of ordinary language, tends to promote logical interpretations of non-logical conduct. Examples. Human beings are somehow prone to shun considering non-logical actions and therefore to disguise them with logical vestments of one sort or another. Classification of the devices that are used for that purpose. Comment on the various categories. The attitude of practical men towards non-logical conduct. 


 The ordinary terms are "religion," "morality," "law." Do they correspond to anything definite? Study of the term "religion." The terms "natural law" and "law of nations." Type-doctrines and. deviations from them. The materials go into theories and the nexuses by which they are brought together. Examples. The use sociology makes of facts. The unknown has to be explained by the known. The present helps to an understanding of the past and to some lesser extent the past to understand the present. Probability of the conclusions that science reaches. Classification of propositions that add something to the uniformity that experience reveals, or which ignore it. Study of abstract entities known independently of experience.

the book details :
  • Author:Vilfredo Pareto
  • editor: Arthur Livingston, 
  • Publication date:1935
  • Company: New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company

  • Download Volume one v. 1. Non-logical conduct - 23.5  MB