John B. Thompson's collection of translated essays forms an illuminating introduction to Paul Ricoeur's prolific contributions to sociological theory.
The human sciences established and developed in the nineteenth century have slowly disintegrated. It is an ironic end. It was in the name of the greater legitimacy of more universal psychological criteria that its architects disavowed the traditional theological standard for valuing and evaluating human words and deeds. With hindsight, we can see that universality was indeed gained, but only at the cost of alienating any sense of common legitimacy. Harold Bloom, defending the canon largely in the humanising, 'moral sense' convention of critics operating since Matthew Arnold, has resolutely maintained the common legitimacy of aesthetic value against the claims of particular interest groups. But the very universality attached to aesthetic value is at odds with the world of common sense, and thus lies at the root of the problem. To complicate matters, this universality has been understood as a traditional criterion. A more radical treatment of the subject is needed. This study begins by surveying the field of modern hermeneutics. Noting its repeated crises of self-legitimisation, it traces these to circular beliefs bequeathed by Romanticism that human nature is self-begetting, and can thus be known intimately and autonomously. After providing a historical overview of how human nature had been understood, the focus shifts to the attack in Coleridge's Biographia Literaria on Wordsworth's 1802 Preface to Lyrical Ballads, and to a reading of some key Romantic texts. It reads Coleridge's famous definition of the imagination as an attack on Romantic hermeneutics, rooted in the traditional view that man has been created in Imago Dei.
Introduction to the Human Sciences carries forward a projected six-volume translation series of the major writings of Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911)--a philosopher and historian of culture who has had a strong and continuing influence on twentieth-century Continental philosophy as well as a broad range of other scholarly disciplines. In addition to his landmark works on the theories of history and the human sciences, Dilthey made important contributions to hermeneutics and phenomenology, aesthetics, psychology, and the methodology of the social sciences. The Selected Works will make accessible to English-speaking readers the full range of Dilthey's thought, including some historical essays and literary criticism. The series provides translations of complete texts, together with editorial notes, and contains manuscript materials that are currently being published for the first time in Germany. This volume brings together the various parts of the Introduction to the Human Sciences published separately in the German edition. Rudolf Makkreel and Frithjof Rodi have underscored the systematic character of Dilthey's theory of the human sciences by translating the bulk of Dilthey's first volume (published in 1883) and his important drafts for the never-completed second volume.
Paul Ricoeur's work is of seminal importance to the development of hermeneutics, phenomenology and ideology critique in the human sciences. This major volume assembles leading scholars to address and explain the significance of this extraordinary body of work. Opening with three key essays from Ricoeur himself, the book offers a fascinating tour of his work ranging across topics such as the hermeneutics of action, narrative force, the other and deconstruction while discussing his work in the context of such contemporary figures as including Heidegger, L[ac]evinas, Arendt and Gadamer. Paul Ricoeur is also published as Volume 21 Issue 5//6 of Philosophy and Social Criticism.
Methodology for the Human Sciences addresses the growing need for a comprehensive textbook that surveys the emerging body of literature on human science research and clearly describes procedures and methods for carrying out new research strategies. It provides an overview of developing methods, describes their commonalities and variations, and contains practical information on how to implement strategies in the field. In it, Donald Polkinghorne calls for a renewal of debate over which methods are appropriate for the study of human beings, proposing that the results of the extensive changes in the philosophy of science since 1960 call for a reexamination of the original issues of this debate. The book traces the history of the deliberations from Mill and Dilthey to Hempel and logical positivism, examines recently developed systems of inquiry and their importance for the human sciences, and relates these systems to the practical problems of doing research on topics related to human experience. It discusses historical realism, systems and structures, phenomenology and hermeneutics, action theory, and the implications recent systems have for a revised human science methodology.
English summary: C. Matzavinos advocates the unity of the scientific method and defends it against the claim to autonomy made by the human sciences. He shows how materials that are 'meaningful', more specifically human actions and texts, can be adequately dealt with by the hypothetico-deductive method, the standard method used in the natural sciences. The hermeneutic method is not an alternative method aimed at the understanding and the interpretation of human actions and texts, but it is the same as the hypothetico-deductive method applied to meaningful materials. The central thesis is, thus, that there is no fundamental methodological difference between natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. The English edition of this work was published by Cambridge University Press. German description: C. Mantzavinos stellt dem Autonomieanspruch der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften die These der Einheit der wissenschaftlichen Methode gegenuber. Er zeigt, wie Material, das 'sinnhaft' ist, vor allem menschliche Handlungen und Texte, mit Hilfe der hypothetisch-deduktiven Methode - der gangigen Methode der Naturwissenschaften - erfasst werden kann. Die hermeneutische Methode ist nichts anders als die auf sinnhaftes Material angewendete hypothetisch-deduktive Methode. Sowohl menschliche Handlungen im allgemeinen als auch Ergebnisse solcher Handlungen, vor allem Texte, sind, obwohl sinnhaft, mittels der hypothetisch-deduktiven Methode gut erfassbar. Der Autor zeigt, dass Sinnzusammenhange sehr oft in Wirkungszusammenhange transformierbar sind und daher nomologisch durchleuchtet werden konnen. Auch in denjenigen Fallen, in denen diese Transformation nicht moglich ist, kann man die hypothetisch-deduktive Methode anwenden: Man kann Hypothesen formulieren, die dazu dienen, den entsprechenden Sinnzusammenhang zu rekonstruieren, und dann aufgrund des verfugbaren empirischen Materials uberprufen, welche der angebotenen Hypothesen zutreffend sind. Bei Rekonstruktionen, wie bei der Feststellung von Einzeltatsachen im allgemeinen, fungieren bestimmte singulare deskriptive Aussagen gerade in dem Sinne als Hypothesen, dass man nach Grunden fur ihre Wahrheit sucht. Somit brauchen auch diejenigen Disziplinen, die sich mit wissenschaftlichen Problemen der Rekonstruktion von Sinnzusammenhangen befassen, die Orientierung ihrer Tatigkeit an der Wahrheitsidee nicht zugunsten anderer Ideale und regulativer Ideen zu opfern. Mantzavinos hat eine naturalistische Hermeneutik entwickelt, die in der Lage ist, Sinnprobleme adaquat zu losen. Das Buch ist der wichtigste neuere Beitrag zur Analyse dieser Probleme, den ich bisher gesehen habe. Es ist unentbehrlich fur jedes Seminar uber Probleme der Hermeneutik.Hans Albert, Heidelberg
This is the first book on Buber to address the full scope of his seminal influence for any number of thinkers and fields from philosophy to psychotherapy to literary theory.
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Social scientists explain events by identifying reasons and causes. Occasionally they weave a series of occurrences into a historical narrative. What is entailed in each kind of explanation? What are the philosophical assumptions that inform them? Which form of explanation is adequate for the human sciences? Does the hermeneutic method offer a viable alternative to the causal and narrative forms? Is hermeneutic understanding significantly different from an explanation in terms of reasons? This book addresses such questions, which have dominated debates in the philosophy of social science, and provides a lucid treatment of issues concerning the adequacy of different forms of explanation. In her analysis the author distances herself from those who refer to the distinction between the natural sciences and the social sciences either to discredit or to privilege a particular method for the study of social phenomena. Instead, she argues that social reality can be conceived in different ways, and that different forms of inquiry - e.g. hermeneutic understanding, narrative, reason-action and causal explanation - represent various ways in which we think about and interrogate that reality. Each of these illuminate a specific dimension of reality and serve different cognitive interests. While acknowledging the significance of various modes of explanation and understanding for the human sciences, the author maintains that the significance of the hermeneutic mode lies in its distinctive conception of social reality, history and knowledge. This conception must inform all analysis of social and historical phenomena. To the extent that narrative can be creatively informed by hermeneutic philosophy, itcan offer adequate explanations of social and historical events.
Fredrik Svenaeus' book is a delight to read. Not only does he exhibit keen understanding of a wide range of topics and figures in both medicine and philosophy, but he manages to bring them together in an innovative manner that convincingly demonstrates how deeply these two significant fields can be and, in the end, must be mutually enlightening. Medicine, Svenaeus suggests, reveals deep but rarely explicit themes whose proper comprehension invites a careful phenomenological and hermeneutical explication. Certain philosophical approaches, on the other hand - specifically, Heidegger's phenomenology and Gadamer's hermeneutics - are shown to have a hitherto unrealized potential for making sense of those themes long buried within Western medicine. Richard M. Zaner, Ann Geddes Stahlman Professor of Medical Ethics, Vanderbilt University
A crucial debate currently raging in the fields of cognitive and social science centers around general and specific approaches to understanding the actions of others. When we understand the actions of another person, do we do so on the basis of a general theory of psychology, or on the basis of an effort to place ourselves in the particular position of that specific person? Hans Kgler and Karsten Stuebers Empathy and Agency addresses this and other issues vital to current social science, in an advanced and diverse analysis of the foundations of social-scientific methodology based on recent cognitive psychology. The book serves as both an introduction to the debate for non-academic audiences and as a catalyst for further discussion for serious theorists. Empathy and Agency provides a solid foundation of the fundamental issues in social and cognitive science, but also presents the most influential paradigms in the field at this time. How do we, as interpreters and theorists in the human and social sciences, understand agency? What are the methods, models, and mediating theoretical frameworks that allow us to give a reliable and adequate account of beliefs, actions, and cultural practices? More specifically, how can we as interpretive analysts employ our own cognitive capacities so as to render the beliefs, intentions, and actions of other human beings intelligible? These are the leading questions that a group of well-established social philosophers explore in this volume in light of the most recent (and hotly debated) findings in cognitive science, developmental psychology, and philosophy of mind. In particular, the debate concerning simulation -- whether agents interpret others by means of implicit theoretical assumptions, or whether they rather simulate their behavior by putting themselves in their shoes -- has produced a wide set of important empirical and philosophical insights. This book takes up those insights and discusses their impact in the context of their most important paradigms in social methodology today.A systematic introduction pertaining to the understanding-explanation debate sets the stage, followed by eleven chapters representing the different approaches tot he field. The paradigms include Wittgensteinian, Davidsonian and Diltheyan approaches, hermeneutics and critical theory, game theory, naturalized epistemology, philosophy of history and twentieth-century social theory, as well as simulation approach proper. As stake are the relation between everyday and social-scientific interpretation, the role of empathy (or role-taking) in understanding human agency, the implications of attributing rationality in the course of interpretation, as well as the relation between rational and causal models in social explanation. The discussions cut across well-established disciplinary boundaries so that the book appeals to both analytic and hermeneutic traditions within philosophy. In addition, the book speaks to all who are engaged in interpreting or explaining human agency in the cultural and social sciences.
Essays discuss reason and understanding, interpretation, language, meaning, the human sciences, social sciences, and general hermeneutic theory.
The essays in this volume constitute a portion of the research program being carried out by the International Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences. Established as an affiliate society of the World Institute for Ad vanced Phenomenological Research and Learning in 1976, in Arezzo, Italy, by the president of the Institute, Dr Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, this particular society is devoted to an exploration of the relevance of phenomenological methods and insights for an understanding of the origins and goals of the specialised human sciences. The essays printed in the first part of the book were originally presented at the Second Congress of this society held at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 12-14 July 1979. The second part of the volume consists of selected essays from the third convention (the Eleventh International Congress of Phenomenology of the World Phenomen ology Institute) held in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1981. With the third part of this book we pass into the "Human Rights" issue as treated by the World Phenomenology Institute at the Interamerican Philosophy Congress held in Tallahassee, Florida, also in 1981. The volume opens with a mono graph by Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka on the foundations of ethics in the moral practice within the life-world and the social world shown as clearly distinct. The main ideas of this work had been presented by Tymieniecka as lead lectures to the three conferences giving them a tight research-project con sistency.

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