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date: 04 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Dilthey’s most important contribution to philosophy was to examine the status of the human sciences as part of a Critique of Historical Reason. Given the leaps made in historical awareness in the nineteenth century and the increasing tendency of psychological research to move away from philosophy and focus on experimentation, Dilthey considered it essential to reflect on disciplines like history, psychology, and sociology to determine whether they should be integrated into the system of the natural sciences. The human sciences differ from natural sciences in being less reliant on causal and other hypothetical explanations. The connectedness of our lived experience does not normally need to be explained by hypotheses. Human beings experience themselves and their socio-historical context as already meaningful and understandable. Dilthey develops an interpretive or hermeneutical approach to the human sciences that distinguishes between different levels of understanding and then considers how explanations can be interpolated if necessary.

Keywords: Dilthey, explanation, understanding, interpretation, hermeneutics, human sciences, world-views, descriptive psychology, inner experience, history

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