Zum methodologischen streit zwischen natur- und geisteswissenschaften

Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 23 (2):223 - 239 (1992)
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Abstract

On the methodological dichotomy between natural sciences and the humanities. This dichotomy is discussed. First, by means of a short historical review, two theses are pointed out: (a) Originally scientific knowledge was regarded as a hermeneutical issue. (b) The separation into two methodological and scientific cultures is rather a 'modern' phenomenon. It was accomplished not before the 19th century as a product of the rise and final succes of the empirist-positivist paradigm for the so-called exact (natural) sciences and the analytic methodology. Further it is argued, that this separation turned out to be an unproductive one: The traditional logical positivist philosophy of science failed in integrating the interpretive practice of the humanities. On the other hand hermeneutical methodology failed in explicating its principles in a way, that could satisfy modern analytic standards. So it remained deficient in founding the postulated methodological autonomy of the humanities. However, the more the positivist background of the traditional philosophy of science crumbles, the more interest the methodological intutions of hermeneutists seem to obtain. Finally, a new possibility to explicate the concept of interpretation by means of analytical instrumentary is drawn out: The so-called structuralist view of scientific theories (J. D. Sneed, W. Stegmüller e.a.) seems to explicate properly just that feature of hermeneutical interpretation, which remained unintelligible for the traditional philosophy of science. So some realistic chance appears to mediate the alleged systematic antithesis and to eliminate that methodological dichotomy. Last but not least, a number of new philosophical theories, can coming from hermeneutical side, are mentioned, in which the concept of interpretation is already used in a presystematic, i.e. an implicit and vague, sense. So to explicate that concept seems to me to be a necessary philosophical task at the present time

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Ekaterini Kaleri
University of Patras

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