Philosophy of the Social Sciences 20 (3):295-316 (1990)
|Abstract||A methodology of the human studies needs to settle the conflict between the two long-established truth-seeking approaches. To be scientific, like physics, promises system, precision, and practical applicability but ignores the significant peculiarity of the subject matter: People talk. Hermeneutics, the methodology of interpretation, confronts the difficulties of understanding what people mean, but is suspected of lacking rigor. However, the two approaches are not exclusive alternatives. Sharing common procedures, such as classification and deduction, they also supplement each other: Interpretation depends on factual evidence and scientific objectivity depends on reliable communication. Successful research needs to combine scientific study of facts with methodical interpretation of meaning.|
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