Single Idea 5436

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / d. Explaining people]

Full Idea

In the natural sciences we seek for causes and ask for explanation (erklären), but in the human or cultural sciences we seek understanding (verstehen) by means of interpretation.

Gist of Idea

Natural science seeks explanation; human sciences seek understanding


report of Wilhelm Dilthey (works [1883]) by Thomas Mautner - Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy p.144

Book Reference

Mautner,Thomas: 'Dictionary of Philosophy' [Penguin 1997], p.144

A Reaction

This seems a nice distinction. The prospects of finding the causes or explanations of Shakespeare's plays don't look good, and when you have explained the causes of a chemical reaction you probably have all you need.