This paper discusses the historical voice in the history of the human sci ences. I address the question, 'Who speaks?', as a question about disci plinary identities and conventions of writing - identities and conventions which have the appearance of conditions of knowledge, in an area of activity where academic history and the history of science or intellectual history meet. If, as this paper contends, the subject-matter of the history of the humansciences is inherently contestable because (...) of fundamental differences about the subject, man, how is the field to be shaped as if it were a whole? The meta-narratives that once sustained synthetic writing, such as the teleological narratives of the emergence of a modern discipline or of progress towards truth, have lost authority. I ask whether the alternatives rely on 'wilful' authorial rhetoric, the use of the resources of language to sustain a narrative, the defence of which depends on intelligibility and inclusiveness, not detailed correspon dence to a supposedly independent past. If this is the case, an author's theoretical stance will inevitably be more out in the open - the author will have a 'theoretical voice' - than is common in most mainstream history writing. In the light of this, I reflect on my own effort to write a synthetic history of the humansciences. (shrink)
Foucault's archaeological method is contrasted with that of a humanist history. The contrast highlights strengths and weaknesses found in Foucault's approach. It is argued that he is right to reject a concept of objective knowledge based on pure facts and pure reason; and that he is right to reject the idea of the autonomous individual uninfluenced by the social context; but that he is wrong to extend these rejections to an utter repudiation of respectively our having reasonable knowledge of an (...) external reality and our being creative and rational agents. A recognition of these strengths and weaknesses is used as a basis for the development of an account of the humansciences that is an alternative to that of Foucault's The Order of Things. This alternative history shows his proclamation of the death of Man to be mistaken. (shrink)
A number of writers have picked out the way knowledge in the humansciences reflexively alters the human subject as what separates these sciences from the natural sciences. Furthermore, they take this reflexivity to be a condition of moral existence. The article sympathetically examines this emphasis on reflexive processes, but it rejects the particular conclusion that the reflexive phenomenon enables us to demarcate the humansciences. The first sections analyse the different meanings that (...) references to reflexivity have in the psychological and social sciences, in philosophy and in material life, and they link these meanings to the post-positivist philosophy of the social sciences. The discussion considers the problems raised (most influentially in the humansciences by Foucault) by being reflexive about reflexivity itself. They put a large question mark against hopes for a revived philosophical anthropology. Whatever the philosophical arguments, however, there is clearly a reflexive practice in the humanities and humansciences which there is not in the natural sciences. This leads to the argument that there are different forms of knowledge for different purposes and that it may therefore be divergence of purpose, not reflexivity itself, that creates differences among the sciences. It is the fact and purpose of human self-reflection that marks out the humansciences. If this is so, then it explains why an apparently circumscribed question about the classification of knowledge turns out to be inseparable from ontological and moral questions about human identity. (shrink)
This article analyses the transformation of the notion of Bildung that is constructed in the German humansciences. From a perspective of field theory and discourse analysis, the article reveals how the notion evolves and stabilizes during a first stage (1810–60), how it comes under pressure because of the contextual changes in a second stage (1860–1960) and how the tension increases before it is resolved by a fundamental change of the traditional notion of Bildung in a third stage (...) (1960–99). (shrink)
A generation or more ago, as the Cold War flourished, the continental European\nscholars whom I met seemed odd to me. They were, virtually without\nexception, totally preoccupied with whether their scholarship harmonized\nwith Marxism or refuted Marxism. This focus cut across disciplinary lines.\nIndeed, a basic assumption united these colleagues: the scholars’ world,\nwhether Karl Marx or Max Weber, consisted of centralized bureaucracies\nsuitable for socialism or at least for orderly organization.\nNorth American scholars shared with the Europeans, not the preoccupation\nwith Marxism, but the idea that (...) centralized bureaucracies made up the\ninteresting world. In such a world, the humansciences were disciplines, and,\ncontrary to Michel Foucault, the discipline was applied to the scholar. The\nscholar was expected to search for empirical evidence and to interpret the evidence\nas objectively as was humanly possible. The human science disciplines\nhad identifiable functional structures, and most scholars (perhaps excepting\nsome anthropologists) tended to be structural functionalists. (shrink)
The historical imagination, as Hayden White has reminded us, is not singular;\nit is manifest in many forms (White, 1973). Not surprisingly, this diversity\nis reflected within the pages of History of the HumanSciences and in the four papers that follow. Indeed, from its inception, the journal has sought to\npromote a variety of styles of writing, representing the many voices that have\nan interest in the humansciences and their history.\nIn the opening article, Roger Smith suggests that a (...) distinctive feature of the\nhistorical imagination is the priority given to an engagement with primary\nsources. The historical imagination, on the other hand, is to be seen in its\nmany forms as the practical realization of that engagement through the constitution\nof the historical ‘record’ as a record and the activity of explaining to\noneself and others how it has come about. For Smith, an important value of\nprimary sources is their representation of ‘otherness’, providing ‘the possibility\nof an engagement with what is foreign to, outside, what we for most\npurposes take to be our selves and our world’. And the historical imagination,\nlike imagination in general, centrally involves a preoccupation with context\nand the provision of a vantage point that is different from the one that is originally\ngiven. Smith ends his paper with some remarks about the connections\nbetween imagination and narrative.\nIn the following article, Graham Richards focuses his reflections early in\nthe 20th century, in the period between the two world wars. Through a discussion\nof some of his recent work on the popularization of Psychoanalysis\nduring those two decades, he introduces an interesting counterfactual question:\n‘How then did it feel to be living without Freud and encountering\npsychoanalytic ideas and language for the first time?’2 Richards goes on to\noutline a number of imperatives (transcendental, presentist, narrative) that he\nsees as part of the historical imagination. In considering the implications of\nhis remarks, Richards – like Smith – highlights the importance of a sound\n‘evidential’ base in the stimulation of the historical imagination and he raises\nan important issue concerning the historian’s sense of time – ‘our feel for how\nthings unfold in real time in real biographies and collective experience’. (shrink)
There has been a long-standing and acrimonious debate in the humansciences over the role played by classic texts. Advocates of the classic insist its value is timeless and rests on the intrinsic superiority of its cognitive insights and aesthetic virtues. Critics, by contrast, argue that the respect accorded the classic is spurious because it conceals the ideological assumptions, tensions and discontinuities of tradition. This article seeks a solution through the account of ‘the classical’ brought by Hans-Georg Gadamer (...) in Truth and Method, which acknowledges a text’s ‘eminence’ as well as its ‘historicity’. Following the introduction, the article divides into four sections. The first section notes that the hermeneutic account of tradition describes it as being open to challenge rather than closed and unchangeable, and that the classic, as grounded in tradition, will conserve difficulty as readily as comfortable certainty. The second section focuses on the idea that in the classic we find matter ‘properly portrayed’, while the third notes the importance of ‘application’ for an understanding of classic texts. It is noted that both ‘proper portrayal’ and ‘application’ depend on recognizing the role of the fusion of historical horizons in generating classic texts. The final section challenges the criticism that the classic is no more than a reflection of the institutional power wielded by the canon, arguing instead that the classic and the canon are different entities, and conflating them in favour of the latter, misleadingly reduces classic-ness to being no more than an effect of canonicity. (shrink)
A work of outstanding originality and importance, which will become a cornerstone in the philosophy of geography, this book asks: What is human science? Is a truly human science of geography possible? What notions of spatiality adequately describe human spatial experience and behaviour? It sets out to answer these questions through a discussion of the nature of science in the humansciences, and, specifically, of the role of phenomenology in such inquiry. It criticises established understanding (...) of phenomenology in these sciences, and demonstrates how they are integrally related to each other. The need for a reflective geography to accompany all empirical science is argued strongly. The discussion is orgamsed into four parts: geography and traditional metaphysics; geography and phenomenology; phenomenology and the question of human science; and human science, worldhood and place. The author draws upon the works, of Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer and Kockelmans in particular. (shrink)
Charles Taylor has been one of the most original and influential figures in contemporary philosophy: his 'philosophical anthropology' spans an unusually wide range of theoretical interests and draws creatively on both Anglo-American and Continental traditions in philosophy. A selection of his published papers is presented here in two volumes, structured to indicate the direction and essential unity of the work. He starts from a polemical concern with behaviourism and other reductionist theories (particularly in psychology and the philosophy of language) which (...) aim to model the study of man on the natural sciences. This leads to a general critique of naturalism, its historical development and its importance for modern culture and consciousness; and that in turn points, forward to a positive account of human agency and the self, the constitutive role of language and value, and the scope of practical reason. The volumes jointly present some two decades of work on these fundamental themes, and convey strongly the tenacity, verve and versatility of the author in grappling with them. They will interest a very wide range of philosophers and students of the humansciences. (shrink)
This book discloses a largely unnoticed dialogue between Muslim and Western social thought on the search for meaning and transcendence in the humansciences. The disclosure is accomplished by a comparative reading of contemporary Muslim debates on secular knowledge on the one hand, and of a foundational Western debate on the demise of metaphysics in the humansciences on the other hand. The comparative reading is grounded in a dialogical hermeneutic approach; that is, a hermeneutic approach (...) to texts and cultural traditions that draws upon the work of Hans Georg Gadamer and also upon the insights of inter-religious dialogue. (shrink)
Based on an analysis of double hermeneutics in the humansciences, a distinction between a weak and a strong rhetorical analysis of human-scientific research is introduced, taking account of the self-reflective character of hermeneutic interpretation. The paper argues that there are three hermeneutic topics in the research process for human-scientific experience, which are associated with applying specific rhetorical tools. The three topics are described under the following rubrics: (a) bridging the gap between experience-near and experience-distant concepts; (...) (b) achieving integrity of the cultural objects dispersed in different interpretive strategies; and (c) taking into consideration that an important task of hermeneutic interpretation in human-scientific research is to give an account of the object's immanent narrative coherence. The paper is written in the conviction that a kind of re-methodologization of philosophical hermeneutics which does not rehabilitate epistemological foundationalism can provide a new philosophical identity to the humansciences. (shrink)
In the debate between the natural science and the phenomenological or hermeneutical approaches in the humansciences, a third alternative described by Husserl has been widely ignored. Contrary to frequent assumptions, Husserl believed that a purely phenomenological method is not generally the appropriate approach for the empirical humansciences. Rather, he held that although they can and should make important use of phenomenological analysis, such sciences should take their basic stance in the "natural attitude," the (...) ordinary commonsense lifeworld mode of understanding which cuts across the divergent abstractive specializations of natural science and phenomenology Human science in the natural attitude, shorn of its naivete by phenomenological insight, would be the field of descriptive concrete sociocultural sciences capable of taking a truly explanatory approach to their subject matter, persons and personal formations. In practice, both Weber and Freud exemplify the method recommended by Husserl. (shrink)
This article examines some of the contributions to the contemporary debate over the question of whether there is an important distinction to be made between the natural and the humansciences. In particular, the article looks at the arguments that Charles Taylor has put forward for the recognition of a radical discontinuity between these forms of science and then examines Richard Rorty's objections to Taylor's distinction and argues that Rorty misunderstands the reasons for this distinction and thereby misses (...) the political implications of failing to make such a distinction. In this regard, some arguments made by Anthony Giddens and John O'Neill, respectively, around Alfred Schutz's "postulate of adequacy" are used to show how the social sciences must be conceived so as to avoid consequences inimical to the reproduction and maintenance of participatory, democratic institutions. Additionally, the article uses O'Neill's argument that the Schutzian conceptualization of interpretive sciences can be critical in a way that Giddens and Jürgen Habermas require, while including a translation and accountability principle, to demonstrate how we ought to respect participatory, democratic forms. (shrink)
In this volume, the authors seek to analyze the actual influence of Dilthey’s philosophy of the humansciences on various contemporary debates. They are convinced that Dilthey’s interpretative-holistic epistemology provides a good starting point for engaging with alternative conceptions of the humansciences. Throughout the volume, the authors illustrate the importance of Dilthey’s main concepts for constituting the human-scientific objects of inquiry qua historically contextualized objects of inquiry. It is the interpretative reflection on the forms (...) of human beings’ self-understanding of their situatedness that requires the implementation of double hermeneutics in the constitution of such objects. In my review, I concentrate chiefly on five versions of double hermeneutics discussed by the authors in different methodological contexts. (shrink)
This is a book about the humansciences. However, it is not a treatise on scientific methodology nor is it a proposal for a unification of the humansciences through an integration of their findings within a general conceptual scheme.
In his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, Kant formulates the idea of the empirical investigation of the human being as a free agent. The notion is puzzling: Does Kant not often claim that, from an empirical point of view, human beings cannot be considered as free? What sense would it make anyway to include the notion of freedom in science? The answer to these questions lies in Kant’s notion of character. While probably all concepts of character (...) are involved in the description and explanation of human action, Kant develops a specific notion of character by distinguishing character as a “mode of thought” (Denkungsart) from character as a “mode of sensing” (Sinnesart). The former notion is distinctively Kantian. Only mode of thought reveals itself in human action such that actions can be seen as linked to an agent’s first-person perspective and the capacity to rationally reflect one’s own intentions and desires. By reference to this concept human actions can be empirically explained qua free actions. The point of this paper is not only to rule out the interpretation that Kant is an incompatibilist concerning the dilemma of freedom and causal determinism. It is also argued that Kant defends a version of soft determinism which is more sophisticated and more adequate for the humansciences than Hume’s. (shrink)
Any reader of Foucault's corpus recognizes fairly quickly that it is animated by an ethical impulse, namely, to liberate individuals from a kind of oppression from which they suffer. This oppression, however, does not involve the familiar tyranny of the Leviathan or the totalitarian state; it exploits instead values that the victim of oppression herself accepts, and which then leads the oppressed agent to be complicit in her subjugation. It also depends, crucially, on a skeptical thesis about the epistemology of (...) the social sciences. It is this conjunction of claims-that individuals oppress themselves in virtue of certain moral and epistemic norms they accept-that marks Foucault's uniquely disturbing contribution to the literature whose diagnostic aim is, with Max Weber, to understand the oppressive character of modernity, and whose moral aim is, with the Frankfurt School, human liberation and human flourishing. I offer here both a reconstruction of Foucault's project - focusing on the role that ethical and epistemic norms play in how agents subjugate themselves - and some modestly critical reflections on his project, especially the weaknesses in his critique of the epistemic standing of the humansciences. (shrink)
In this paper, a Wittgensteinian account of the humansciences is constructed around the notions of the surface of human life and of surface phenomena as expressions. I begin by explaining Wittgenstein's idea that the goal of interpretive social science is to make actions and practices seem natural. I then explicate his notions of the surface of life and of surface phenomena as expressions by reviewing his analysis of mental state language. Finally, I critically examine three ideas: (...) (a) that the goal of interpretive inquiry is realized through a descriptive, context-constructing method that enables investigators to grasp the instincts, mental states, and experiences (Geist) expressed in surface phenomena; (b) that uncovering rules plays a minor role in this enterprise; and (c) that surface phenomena not only can be made natural but also have causes and are subject to causal explanation. (shrink)
Rationality in medicine is frequently construed as hypotheticodeductive. This article argues that such a model gives a distorted view of the rational character of an enterprise that makes judgments about individual human well-being. Medicine as a science is a practical human science. Seen as such, its rational orientation is one that applies general knowledge to particular situations. It is argued that such an orientation is not deductive but interpretative. The Aristotelian concept of practical wisdom (‘phron sis’) is used (...) as a model of the rational orientation of clinical judgment. Keywords: clinical judgment, rationality, humansciences CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
A link between biological and humansciences may be established, under the condition that we should admit the existence of reciprocal influences between them. The model for the regulation of agonistic antagonistic couples (MRAAC) is built from the study of biological systems and gives rise to specific types of control. This model can be helpful in decision processes in some humansciences such as management, economical and political strategies. The reason for such an opportunity lies in (...) the fact that MRAAC is a general and phenomenological model able to incorporate the whole of the agonistic antagonistic systems. This type of regulation might be related to the concept of the viability of a system (yet also valid for human science systems) and to a functional and structural pattern which is the basis for agonistic antagonistic networks. (shrink)
This article argues that while Charles Taylor's commitment to anti-naturalism in the humansciences has been constant, the grounds for that commitment have changed significantly over time. What began as his critique of naturalism on empirical grounds was refashioned into a commitment on moral grounds, or more accurately, on the basis of there being no distinctly separable grounds between the scientific and the moral. Taylor shifted his descriptive phenomenological defence of anti-naturalism to cast a much broader critique against (...) an empiricist epistemology he saw underpinning all naturalist approaches in the humansciences. He calls attention to the speciousness of the ontological commitments of an empiricist epistemological outlook that tries to separate human agency from moral ontology, which he argues is itself a moral position. Whether we want to go along with Taylor's specific moral outlook or not, what his arguments about the humansciences teach us is twofold: (1) Taylor's descriptive phenomenology shows how the scientific language of the natural sciences often cannot explain human phenomena without contradiction; (2) Taylor's hermeneutic realism teaches us the extent to which defending an anti-naturalist philosophy of humansciences today necessitates moral argument. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Freedom and the HumanSciences * The Model of Biological Science and its Implications for the HumanSciences * The Answer to the Question What Is Man? * Pragmatic Anthropology * Philosophical History * Conclusion * Bibliography Freedom and the HumanSciences * The Model of Biological Science and its Implications for the HumanSciences * The Answer to the Question What Is Man? * Pragmatic Anthropology * Philosophical (...) History * Conclusion * Bibliography. (shrink)
[Book Review] Rudolf Makkreel and Frithjof Rodi, eds. Wilhelm Dilthey. Selected Works vol. III: The Formation of the Historical World in the HumanSciences. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2002.
The name of the Genevan critic Jean Starobinski will most likely evoke masterful\nreadings of Rousseau and Montaigne, or insightful reconstructions of the world\nof the Enlightenment. With the possible exception of the history of melancholy,\nmuch more rarely will it be associated with the history of psychology and\npsychiatry. A small number of the critic’s contributions to this field have\nappeared in some of his books. Most of them, however, remain scattered, and\nnothing suggests that they are known as widely as they deserve.\nStarobinski’s work in (...) the history of psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis\nis exemplary in its perspective of the problematic relations between\npsychological concepts and experiences, and between medical thought and the\nlarger culture. (shrink)
Which form of explanation is adequate for the humans sciences? Mahajan argues that social reality can be perceived in different ways--hermeneutic understanding, narrative, reason action and causal explanation--and each alters our perception of reality. A new chapter on poststructuralist and postmodern theories brings this important book up-to-date with current thinking.
I show the sense in which the concept of history as a human science affects our theory of the natural sciences and, therefore, our theory of the unity of the physical and humansciences. The argument proceeds by way of reviewing the effect of the Darwinian contribution regarding teleologism and of post-Darwinian paleonanthropology on the transformation of the primate members of Homo sapiens into societies of historied selves. The strategy provides a novel way of recovering the (...) unity of the sciences: by construing the physical sciences themselves as humansciences - and, therefore, as themselves historied. (shrink)
In the growing Prussian university system of the early nineteenth century, "Wissenschaft" (science) was seen as an endeavor common to university faculties, characterized by a rigorous methodology. On this view, history and jurisprudence are sciences, as much as is physics. Nineteenth century trends challenged this view: the increasing influence of materialist and positivist philosophies, profound changes in the relationships between university faculties, and the defense of Kant's classification of the sciences by neo-Kantians. Wilhelm Dilthey's defense of the independence (...) of the methodology of the humansciences (Geisteswissenschaften) from those of the natural sciences (Naturwissenschaften) is as much a return to the ideal of Wissenschaft as a cooperative endeavor as it is a defense of the autonomy of interpretive or hermeneutic methods. The debate between Dilthey and the neo-Kantian Wilhelm Windelband at the close of the century illuminates the development of this dialogue over the nineteenth century. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Since its original publication in 1979, The Possibility of Naturalism has been one of the most influential works in contemporary philosophy of science and social science. It is a cornerstone of the critical realist position, which is now widely seen as offering a viable alternative to move positivism and postmodernism. This revised edition includes a new foreword.
This is a volume of new essays introducing the most influential developments in social and political theory over the last thirty years. In that period empiricism and the positivist ideal of the unification of science have been undermined and transformed by the impact of different, frequently Continental, traditions of thought. The introduction charts these charges and each of the contributors provides a brief and lucid account of the thought of one major figure or school which have helped to bring about (...) these changes. Those discussed include Althusser, Derrida, Foucault, Gadamer, Habermas, Kuhn, Levi-Strauss, Rawls and the Annales historians. Each essay has suggestions for further reading and a useful general bibliography is provided at the end of the volume. (shrink)
Abstract This essay will argue systematically and from a historical perspective that there is something to be said for the traditional claim that the human and natural sciences are distinct epistemic practices. Yet, in light of recent developments in contemporary philosophy of science, one has to be rather careful in utilizing the distinction between understanding and explanation for this purpose. One can only recognize the epistemic distinctiveness of the humansciences by recognizing the epistemic centrality of (...) reenactive empathy for our understanding of rational agency, that is, by emphasizing the psychological component in the concept of understanding that nineteenth-century philosophers like Droysen, in contrast to twentieth-century hermeneutic philosophers, still acknowledged. In addition, the essay will show in detail that merely pointing to the fact that narratives have a cognitive function in the domain of the humansciences, as is common among philosophers of history, does not provide us with a sufficient demarcation criterion for distinguishing between the human and natural sciences. (shrink)
The social sciences must be biological ones, owing simply to the fact that they focus on the causes and effects of the behavior of members of a biological species, Homo sapiens. Our improved understanding of biology as a science and of the biological realm should enable us therefore to solve several of the outstanding problems of the philosophy of social science. The solution to these problems leaves most of the social and behavioral sciences pretty much as it finds (...) them, though it does provide improved understanding of their scope, limits, and methods. Key Words: biology natural selection Darwinism models narratives history. (shrink)