First Published in 1998. This is Volume XXII of twenty-two in the Sociology of Social Theory and Methodology series. Written in 1944, this book serves as an introduction to German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey, whose trend of his interests and purposes were brought together in a great work, his Critique of Historical Reason, were established as early as 1880, but was unfinished upon his death.
Table of Contents
Chapter I Dilthey among his contemporaries. The problem of the nineteenth century. Dilthey’s roots in Anglo-French empiricism. And in German romanticism. His interests outside philosophy. Nature and limits of his achievement; Chapter II The human studies as knowledge of reality, in contrast with natural science. Self-knowledge and knowledge of others both depend on expression. Understanding and reliving. Complexity of the process. Relation between understanding and abstract thought. “Meaning” as a category of life. Three classes of expressions. Nature and functions of art. Nature and history of hermeneutics. Autobiography, biography, and historiography. “ Objective mind” as the datum for historical knowledge. The historical consciousness and historicism. The systematic human studies; Chapter III Psychologism and anti-psychologism among philosophers. Dilthey holds that philosophy and the human studies depend on psychology. Need of reform in psychological aims and methods. “ Explanatory “ and ” descriptive” psychology. The “ structure ” of mental life. Psychology as exploration of this structure. Dilthey’s programme for psychology. Part ial fulfilment of it in recent psychology. Dilthey’s subsequent doubts. “ Understanding-psychology” in Jaspers, Spranger, etc. Defence of Dilthey’s bolder view; Chapter IV “ Sociology ” in Comte, Mill, and Spencer. “ Philosophy of history” in Germany. Dilthey’s objections to both. “Cultural systems ”in society. The outer organizations of society. Ambiguous position of law. Origins of the separate social studies. Reasons against Dilthey’s rejection of a comprehensive sociology. Dilthey on historical periods. His attitude to Hegel’s historical dialectic; Chapter V The proper study of mankind is man. Idealism and the contrast between natural science and historical knowledge : Windelband and Rickert. Dilthey’s reply. Empiricism and its dangers. The human studies are based on expression and understanding. They grow directly out of common experience. They understand their units and their interrelations from within. They are weak on general laws but strong in the study of the individual. They are determined throughout by an interest in values. They are mutually dependent. Conflict of romantic and positivist views in Dilthey. The fact behind this conflict. Its importance for education.; Chapter VI Dilthey’s roots in Kant and the empiricists. His advance beyond both. Philosophy as the quest for absolute principles. Weltanschauung as the synthesis of cognitive, affective, and conative experiences. The “metaphysical consciousness”. Its expression in religion and art. Its expression in philosophy: metaphysics. The task which metaphysics sets itself is impossible. The quest of absolute principles is vain. Philosophy as “psychology in motion”. Philosophy as comparative study of outlooks The three types of outlook. Dilthey, Hegel, and Collingwood. Insufficiency of Dilthey’s typology. Relativism and the necessity of choice. Philosophy as existential thinking. Transition from Dilthey to Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Jaspers;