Hermeneutics, transcendental philosophy and social science

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 27 (1-4):23 – 49 (1984)
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Abstract

It has frequently been argued that there must be a necessary and important difference between the methods of the natural and social sciences, or that an empirical method in social science must be supplemented by or is inferior to an interpretative method. Often these claims have been supported by arguments using premises derived from the early Heidegger or the late Wittgenstein. These arguments, in turn, tend either to be transcendental in form or to follow a hermeneutic argument strategy. This paper argues that neither of these types of argument, based on Heideggerian or Wittgensteinian premises, can be used successfully to show an important or essential difference between natural and social science. It does this by examining arguments proposed by Peter Winch and Hubert Dreyfus, showing how they are fallacious and misconstrue the import of the premises upon which they are based, and generalizing these objections to the transcendental and hermeneutic styles of argument in this field as such. The paper concludes with a consideration of Richard Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, which reaches conclusions in this area which are similar to those of this paper but which, it is argued, misconstrues the character of its own argument

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Citations of this work

Iv. understanding Peter Winch.W. W. Sharrock & R. J. Anderson - 1985 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 28 (1-4):119 – 122.
Science, practice and politics.Steven Vogel - 1991 - Social Epistemology 5 (4):267 – 292.
A pragmatic reconstruction of the naturalism/anti-naturalism debate.William M. Throop & Martha L. Knight - 1987 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 17 (1):93–112.
Gadamer, Rorty, hermeneutics, and Truth: A response to Warnke.Donald Rothberg - 1986 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 29 (1-4):355-361.

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References found in this work

Interpretation and the Sciences of Man.Charles Taylor - 1971 - Review of Metaphysics 25 (1):3 - 51.
Interpretation and the Sciences of Man.Charles Taylor - 1971 - Review of Metaphysics 25 (1):3-51.

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