The history of understanding in analytic philosophy: around logical empiricism

New York: Bloomsbury Academic (2022)
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Abstract

Interpretive understanding of human behaviour, known as verstehen, underpins the divide between the social sciences and the natural sciences. Taking a historically orientated approach, this collection offers a fresh take on the development of understanding within analytic philosophy before, during and after logical empiricism. In doing so, it reinvigorates debates on the role of the social sciences within contemporary epistemology. Bringing together leading experts including Martin Kusch, Thomas Uebel, Karsten Stueber and Giuseppina D'Oro, it is an authoritative reference on the logical empiricists' philosophy of social science. Charting the various reformulations of verstehen as proposed by Wilhem Dilthey, Max Weber, R.G Collingwood and Peter Winch, the volume explores the reception of the social sciences prior to logical empiricism, before surveying the positive and negative critiques from Otto Neurath, Felix Kaufmann, Viktor Kraft and other logical empiricists. As such, chapters reveal that verstehen was not altogether rejected by the Vienna Circle, but was subject to various conceptual uses and misuses. Along with systematic historical coverage, the book situates verhesten within contemporary interdisciplinary developments in the field, shedding light on the 21st-century 'turn' to understanding among analytic philosophers and opening further lines of inquiry for philosophy of social science.

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Adam Tamas Tuboly
Hungarian Academy of Sciences

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