In this illuminating study of Kant's theory of imagination and its role in interpretation, Rudolf A. Makkreel argues against the commonly held notion that Kant's transcendental philosophy is incompatible with hermeneutics. The charge that Kant's foundational philosophy is inadequate to the task of interpretation can be rebutted, explains Makkreel, if we fully understand the role of imagination in his work. In identifying this role, Makkreel also reevaluates the relationship among Kant's discussions of the feeling of life, common sense, and the (...) purposiveness of history. (shrink)
Moving beyond the dialogical approaches found in much of contemporary hermeneutics, this book focuses instead on the diagnostic use of reflective judgment, not only to discern the differentiating features of the phenomena to be understood, but also to the various meaning contexts that can frame their interpretation. It assesses what such thinkers as Kant, Dilthey, Heidegger, Gadamer, Ricoeur, Habermas and others can contribute to the problems of multicultural understanding, and reconceives hermeneutics as a critical inquiry into the appropriate contextual conditions (...) of understanding and interpretation. (shrink)
The philosopher and historian of culture Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911) has had a significant and continuing influence on twentieth-century Continental philosophy and in a broad range of scholarly disciplines. Rudolf Makkreel interprets Dilthey's philosophy and provides a guide to its complex development. Against the tendency to divorce Dilthey's early psychological writings from his later hermeneutical and historical works, Makkreel argues for their essential continuity.
A close link between empathy and understanding has often been attributed to Dilthey, but in fact one seldom finds the German word for empathy—Einfühlung— in his writings. For this and other reasons one should be reluctant to reduce Dilthey’s theory of Verstehen to a form of empathy.1 The relation between Einfühlung and Verstehen is much more explicit in Husserl. By working out what this relation is for Husserl in Book Two of Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie and (...) in some other late writings, we can see how phenomenology transformed the aesthetic meaning of Einfühlung, which had been originally established by the psychologist Theodor Lipps. In addition to distinguishing several senses of empathy, I will compare them to a range of related phenomena such as sympathy and pity, divination and transposition, appreciative understanding and critical understanding. (shrink)
Starting with Kant’s doubts about psychology as a natural science capable of explaining human behavior, several alternative attempts to conceive of human life, culture and history are examined. Kant proposes an anthropology that will be a commonly useful human science rather than a universally valid natural science. This anthropology relates to philosophy as a mode of world-cognition. Special attention is given to how Kant’s theory of right can help define our appropriate place in a communal world. The different ways in (...) which Wilhelm Dilthey and Hermann Cohen respond to Kant’s idea of legitimate appropriation are also considered. The various tasks that descriptive elucidation, explanation, reflective understanding, characterization and interpretation can perform for the human and cultural sciences are examined throughout the essay.Keywords: Appropriation; Hermann Cohen; Culture; Wilhelm Dilthey; Human sciences; Immanuel. (shrink)
Some philosophers have distinguished history from nature by speaking of the former as the mind-affected world. Such a distinction would seem to account for the fact that we have a sense of belonging to and participating in the movement of history and of being able to change it by our thoughts and plans. If we take this claim metaphysically, then history would be the domain that we have influenced, and nature the domain that we have failed to influence. Vico and (...) Dilthey are known for their thesis that we can only properly know what we have made. This gives us a special access to history that we do not have to nature. Actually, their verum-factum thesis can be extended to nature itself if one is a transcendental idealist. In his Reflexionen zur Logik, Kant writes that “we comprehend only what we can make ourselves,” but means it to apply to our understanding of nature. Kant does not construe making in terms of physical activity that introduces changes in things. Making is conceived purely formally so that it applies to the mathematical and categorical structures that the human mind extends to nature. (shrink)
My purpose is to examine Kant's views on interpreting nature and history and to attempt to see them as coherent by relating them to his theory of reflective judgment. With this reconstruction of a kantian conception of interpretation it is possible to shed new light on kant's approach to political history. I propose that reflective judgments as defined in the "critique of judgment" be conceived primarily as interpretive and only derivatively as either aesthetic or teleological. This approach to reflective judgments (...) creates a spectrum of them ranging from the noncognitive to the cognitive and from the aesthetic to the practical. (shrink)