The intention of this essay does not, I fear, readily fit into any of the previous categories of ethical or moral philosophy. I am not concerned here with the Good, with values, or with the question of their recognition, foundation, and justification; nor am I concerned with duties and virtues. The linguistic and/or logical structure of ethical judgments, too, is outside my subject, as is the problem of Free Will.
This first quotation already calls into question many of the most often repeated and best known theses about Dilthey's position on the social and historiographical sciences. For example, what I quoted is not compatible with the widespread opinion that Dilthey made subjective empathy the foundation of interpretation, that he was psychologizing the "operation called Verstehen," or that he thought all historiography and social science must be based on psychology and must, in the last resort, rely on introspection or the so (...) called "subjective experience". This mistaken opinion has influenced Max Weber and has dominated one side of the whole dispute about the methodological character of historiography, psychology, and the social sciences even up to the present writings of men like T. Abel and P. Winch. A quite different picture of Dilthey's position will have emerged at the end of this paper. (shrink)