John B. Thompson's collection of translated essays forms an illuminating introduction to Paul Ricoeur's prolific contributions to sociological theory.
This is a collection in translation of essays by Paul Ricoeur which presents a comprehensive view of his philosophical hermeneutics, its relation to the views of his predecessors in the tradition and its consequences for the social sciences. The volume has three parts. The studies in the first part examine the history of hermeneutics, its central themes and the outstanding issues it has to confront. In Part II, Ricoeur's own current, constructive position is developed. A concept of the text is formulated as the implications of the theory are pursued into the domains of sociology, psychoanalysis and history. Many of the essays appear here in English for the first time; the editor's introduction brings out their background in Ricoeur's thought and the continuity of his concerns. The volume will be of great importance for those interested in hermeneutics and Ricoeur's contribution to it, and will demonstrate how much his approach offers to a number of disciplines.
Collected and translated by John B. Thompson, this collection of essays by Paul Ricoeur includes many that had never appeared in English before the volume's publication in 1981. As comprehensive as it is illuminating, this lucid introduction to Ricoeur's prolific contributions to sociological theory features his more recent writings on the history of hermeneutics, its central themes and issues, his own constructive position and its implications for sociology, psychoanalysis and history. Presented in a fresh twenty-first-century series livery, and including a specially commissioned preface written by Charles Taylor, illuminating its enduring importance and relevance to philosophical enquiry, this classic work has been revived for a new generation of readers.
In the fiftieth anniversary of this book’s first release, Winch’s argument remains as crucial as ever. Originally published in 1958, The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy was a landmark exploration of the social sciences, written at a time when that field was still young and had not yet joined the Humanities and the Natural Sciences as the third great domain of the Academy. A passionate defender of the importance of philosophy to a full understanding of 'society' against those who would deem it an irrelevant 'ivory towers' pursuit, Winch draws from the works of such thinkers as Ludwig Wittgenstein, J.S. Mill and Max Weber to make his case. In so doing he addresses the possibility and practice of a comprehensive 'science of society'.
For some two centuries, scholars have wrestled with questions regarding the nature and logic of history as a discipline and, more broadly, with the entire complex of the "human sciences, " with include theology, philosophy, history, literature, the fine arts, and languages. The fundamental issue is whether the human sciences are a special class of studies with a specifically distinct object and method or whether they must be subsumed under the natural sciences. German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey dedicated the bulk of his long career to there and related questions. His Introduction to the Human Sciences is a pioneering effort to elaborate a general theory of the human sciences, especially history, and to distinguish these sciences radically from the field of natural sciences. Though the Introduction was never completed, it remains one of the major statements of the topic. Together with other works by Dilthey, it has had a substantial influence on the recognition and human sciences as a fundamental division of human knowledge and on their separation from the natural sciences in origin, nature, and method. As a contribution to the issue of the methodologies of the humanities and social sciences, the Introduction rightly claims a place. This is the first time the entire work is available in English. In his introductory essay, translator Ramon J. Betanzos surveys Dilthey’s life and thought and hails his efforts to create a foundational science for the particular human sciences, and at the same time, takes serious issue with Dilthey’s historical/critical evaluation of metaphysics.
This is the first book-length critical analysis in any language of Hans Blumenberg’s theory of myth. Blumenberg can be regarded as the most important German theorist of myth of the second half of the twentieth century, and his Work on Myth (1979) has resonated across disciplines ranging from literary theory, via philosophy, religious studies and anthropology, to the history and philosophy of science. Nicholls introduces Anglophone readers to Blumenberg’s biography and to his philosophical contexts. He elucidates Blumenberg’s theory of myth by relating it to three important developments in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century German philosophy (hermeneutics, phenomenology and philosophical anthropology), while also comparing Blumenberg’s ideas with those of other prominent theorists of myth such as Vico, Hume, Schelling, Max Müller, Frazer, Sorel, Freud, Cassirer, Heidegger, Horkheimer and Adorno. According to Nicholls, Blumenberg’s theory of myth can only be understood in relation to the ‘human sciences,’ since it emerges from a speculative hypothesis concerning the emergence of the earliest human beings. For Blumenberg, myth was originally a cultural adaptation that constituted the human attempt to deal with anxieties concerning the threatening forces of nature by anthropomorphizing those forces into mythic images. In the final two chapters, Blumenberg’s theory of myth is placed within the post-war political context of West Germany. Through a consideration of Blumenberg’s exchanges with Carl Schmitt, as well as by analysing unpublished correspondence and parts of the original Work of Myth manuscript that Blumenberg held back from publication, Nicholls shows that Blumenberg’s theory of myth also amounted to a reckoning with the legacy of National Socialism.
First published in 2004. This study begins by surveying the field of modern hermeneutics. Noting its repeated crisis 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 hermeneuticsm, roots in the traditional view that man has been created in Imago Dei. This title will be of interest to students of literature.
Psychiatry or psychopathology finds itself in a state of imbalance. The reason: the impossibility to unite biological and psychological factors. Effectively, this leads to the psychic reality being largely ignored. And yet psychiatry as a human science wi
Paul Ricoeur is one of the giants of contemporary continental philosophy and one of the most enduring and wide-ranging thinkers in the twentieth century, publishing major works ranging from existentialism and phenomenology to psychoanalysis, politics, religion and the theory of language. Richard Kearney offers a critical engagement with the work of Ricoeur, beginning with a general introduction to his hermeneutic philosophy. Part one explores some of the main themes in Ricouer's thought under six headings: phenomenology and hermeneutics; language and imagination; myth and tradition; ideology and utopia; evil and alterity; poetics and ethics. The second part comprises five dialogical exchanges which Kearney has conducted with Ricoeur over the last three decades (1977-2003), charting and explaining his intellectual itinerary. This book is aimed at a broad student readership as well as the general intelligent reader interested in knowing more about one of the most enduring major figures in contemporary continental philosophy.
In this timely and wide-ranging study, Karsten Stueber argues that empathy is epistemically central for our folk-psychological understanding of other agents--that it is something we cannot do without in order to gain understanding of other minds. Setting his argument in the context of contemporary philosophy of mind and the interdisciplinary debate about the nature of our mindreading abilities, Stueber counters objections raised by some in the philosophy of social science and argues that it is time to rehabilitate the empathy thesis.Empathy, regarded at the beginning of the twentieth century as the fundamental method of gaining knowledge of other minds, has suffered a century of philosophical neglect. Stueber addresses the plausible philosophical misgivings about empathy that have been responsible for its failure to gain widespread philosophical acceptance.Crucial in this context is his defense of the assumption, very much contested in contemporary philosophy of mind, that the notion of rational agency is at the core of folk psychology. Stueber then discusses the contemporary debate between simulation theorists--who defend various forms of the empathy thesis--and theory theorists. In distinguishing between basic and reenactive empathy, he provides a new interpretive framework for the investigation into our mindreading capacities. Finally, he considers epistemic objections to empathy raised by the philosophy of social science that have been insufficiently discussed in contemporary debates. Empathy theorists, Stueber writes, should be prepared to admit that, although empathy can be regarded as the central default mode for understanding other agents, there are certain limitations in its ability to make sense of other agents; and there are supplemental theoretical strategies available to overcome these limitations.
Paul Ricoeur is one of the most important modern literary theorists and a philosopher of world renown. This collection brings together his published articles, papers, reviews, and interviews that focus on literary theory and criticism. The first of four sections includes early pieces that explore the philosophical foundations for a post-structural hermeneutics. The second contains reviews and essays in which Ricoeur engages in debate over some of the central themes of literary theory, including figuration/configuration and narrativity. In the third section are later essays on post-structuralist hermeneutics, and in the fourth, interviews in which he discusses text, language, and myths. Mario ValdEs provides an introduction to the literary theories of Paul Ricoeur and the works in this collection particularly. He also includes a complete bibliography of Ricoeur's works that have appeared in English.
Social scientists explain events by identifying reasons and causes. Occasionally they weave a series of events into a historical narrative. What is entailed in each kind of explanation? What form of explanation is adequate for the social sciences? In this lucid book, Gurpreet Mahajan surveys each of the major forms of inquiry—hermeneutic understanding, narrative, reason-action, and causal explanation—to examine how each method changes our perceptions of social reality. The third edition includes a new Preface that discusses some recent shifts in the conceptualization of the social sciences.
Originally published in 1978, this important work, by one of the leading European social theorists, is arguably the best introduction to the hermeneutic tradition as a whole. It is designed to help students of sociology and philosophy place the problems of "understanding social science" in their historical and philosophical context. It does so by presenting the major current in sociological thought as responses to the challenge of hermeneutics. The idea that true knowledge of social life can be attained only if human conduct is seen as meaningful action whose meaning is accordingly grasped has been presented as a discovery of recent sociology. In fact its history is long and its connections plentiful, reaching beyond the boundaries of sociology itself. Yet it is in sociology that the hermeneutic tradition has attracted most interest but most misinterpretation. The debate is in full swing and there is no attempt to offer "correct" solutions - the emphasis instead is upon revealing the strengths and weaknesses of each of the main approaches. However it is Bauman's view that the theory of understanding may achieve valid results only if it treats the problem of understanding as an aspect of the ongoing process of social life.
In the first of eight conversations, Ricoeur traces the trajectory of his life, recounting the origins of his convictions and the development of his intellect during the tragic events of the twentieth century. Declaring himself the "son of a victim of the First World War," Ricoeur, an orphan, sketches his early years in the house of stern but loving grandparents, and the molding of his intellect under the tutelage of Roland Dalbiez, Gabriel Marcel, and Andre Philip. Ricoeur tells the intriguing story of his capture and five-year imprisonment by the Germans during World War II, when he and his compatriots fashioned an intellectual life complete with a library and lectures, and when he, amazingly, was able to continue his dissertation research.
Hermann Lang's Language and the Unconscious is the standard introduction to the "philosophical" psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan in Germany. His treatise advances the thesis that the unifying force behind the Lacanian oeuvre is the efficacy of the "talking cure" itself. This approach allows the reader to understand Lacan's relationship to Freud, to structuralism and to the philosophical concerns of Heidegger and Gadamer. Finally, Lang's interpretation of Lacan also has returns for students' of hermeneutics and literary theory; his correlation between hermeneutics and the Lacanian subject expands the language of the former, allowing an approach to subjectivity not compromised by the assumptions of post-Cartesian modern metaphysics.
Recognition, though it figures profoundly in our understanding of objects and persons, identity and ideas, has never before been the subject of a single, sustained philosophical inquiry. This work, by one of contemporary philosophy's most distinguished voices, pursues recognition through its various philosophical guises and meanings--and, through the "course of recognition," seeks to develop nothing less than a proper hermeneutics of mutual recognition. Originally delivered as lectures at the Institute for the Human Sciences at Vienna, the essays collected here consider recognition in three of its forms. The first chapter, focusing on knowledge of objects, points to the role of recognition in modern epistemology; the second, concerned with what might be called the recognition of responsibility, traces the understanding of agency and moral responsibility from the ancients up to the present day; and the third takes up the problem of recognition and identity, which extends from Hegel's discussion of the struggle for recognition through contemporary arguments about identity and multiculturalism. Throughout, Paul Ricoeur probes the significance of our capacity to recognize people and objects, and of self-recognition and self-identity in relation to the gift of mutual recognition. Drawing inspiration from such literary texts as The Odyssey and Oedipus at Colonus, and engaging some of the classic writings of the Continental philosophical tradition--by Kant, Hobbes, Hegel, Augustine, Locke, and Bergson--The Course of Recognition ranges over vast expanses of time and subject matter and in the process suggests a number of highly insightful ways of thinking through the major questions of modern philosophy.
The most convenient and accessible guide to Gadamer currently available.
In this lucid and elegantly written book, Joel Weinsheimer discusses how the insights of Hans-Gadamer alter our understanding of literary theory and interpretation.
Essays discuss reason and understanding, interpretation, language, meaning, the human sciences, social sciences, and general hermeneutic theory.

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