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PSA 1972 pp 167-193 | Cite as

The Operation Called Verstehen: Towards a Redefinition of the Problem

  • Thomas McCarthy
Chapter
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 20)

Abstract

One of the more constant elements in the ‘legacy of logical positivism’ has been a rather low estimate of the importance of the concept of Verstehen for a logic of the social sciences. To be sure, it has been the accepted practice among philosophers under the influence of this movement that any extended treatment of the logic of the social sciences include an analysis of the role of Verstehen. But these analyses have almost invariably taken the form of a whittling down to size of an out-sized concept with, it is often noted, rather suspicious origins in German metaphysical thought.

Keywords

Language Game Interpretive Process Hermeneutic Circle Historical Understanding Primitive Community 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Hempel, C. G., ‘Logical Positivism and the Social Sciences’, in Achinstein and Barker (eds.), The Legacy of Logical Positivism, Baltimore 1969, p. 163.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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  3. 3.
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  4. 4.
    New York, 1961.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Scriven, M., ‘Logical Positivism and the Behavioral Sciences’ in Achinstein and Barker (eds.), 1961, p. 201.Google Scholar
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    Abel, ‘Logical Positivism and the Behavioral Sciences’ in Achinstein and Barker (eds.), 1961, pp. 185–188.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Nagel, ‘Logical Positivism and the Behavioral Sciences’ in Achinstein and Barker (eds.), 1961, pp. 483, 84.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Aufsätze zur Wissenschaftslehre, Tübingen 1922, p. 174; cited in Jürgen Habermas, Zur Logik der Sozialwissenschaften, Frankfurt a. Main, 1970, p. 86.Google Scholar
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    For a brief but interesting discussion of these questions see Habermas, op. cit.>, pp. 83–91.Google Scholar
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  11. 10a.
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    For a general discussion of this approach see Bernstein, R., Praxis and Action, Philadelphia 1971, Part IV.Google Scholar
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    This point, as well as the next, is made by Alan Ryan, The Philosophy of the Social Sciences, London 1970 in his discussion of Winch on pp. 125–171.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Habermas, The Philosophy of the Social Sciences, London 1970 in his discussion of Winch on, pp. 143, 86.Google Scholar
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    Abel, The Philosophy of the Social Sciences, London 1970 in his discussion of Winch on, pp. 185, 86.Google Scholar
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    Rudner, op. cit.>, p. 83.Google Scholar
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    American Philosophical Quarterly 1 (1964). The numbers in the text of this section refer to this article.Google Scholar
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  28. 33.
    Second Edition, Tübingen 1965.Google Scholar
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    Gadamer, op. cit.>, p. 362.Google Scholar
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    Ibid.>, p. 280.Google Scholar
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    Compare Danto, A. C., Analytical Philosophy of History, p. 142.Google Scholar
  33. 41.
    Gadamer, op. cit.>, p. 279.Google Scholar
  34. 42.
    See Gadamer, op. cit.>, p. 291.Google Scholar
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    Ibid.>, p. 291.Google Scholar
  36. 44.
    Maclntyre, op. cit.>; quoted in Winch, 1964, op. cit.>, p. 323.Google Scholar
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    Winch, op. cit.>, p. 323.Google Scholar
  38. 46.
    See Gadamer, op. cit.>, pp. 351 ff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht-Holland 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas McCarthy
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of PhilosophyBoston UniversityUSA

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