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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter sets out to clarify the ideas of comparison and comparative knowledge. It analyses different approaches to these two issues, both from an analytical perspective and by means of a comparison with other disciplines, such as historical linguistics, comparative religion, and comparative history. The chapter describes the core of comparative knowledge as a structured description of a set of similarities and differences of the objects compared. Analytically, the article is based on the distinction of classifying comparison, qualifying comparison, and complex comparisons. Although qualifying and complex judgments of similarity and difference are irreducibly subjective, they are not meaningless if they relate to a clearly defined epistemological perspective or to a common understanding of the relevant circumstances; moreover they can be rationalized by a number of different tecniques. Those methodological techniques are presented in a list of nine basic conclusions.

Keywords: comparative history, comparative judgments, comparative religion, histoire comparée, historical linguistics, Idealtypus, tertia comparationis

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