Simulation theory and the verstehen school: A wittgensteinian approach

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Eager to set the social sciences, especially history, apart from their natural brethren, early representatives of the Verstehen School argued that these fields are wholly consumed by the pursuit of understanding. The idea that social science is primarily a search for understanding has lived on in the twentieth century, its most impressive reincarnations being Peter Winch’s rule Wittgensteinism and Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutics. At the same time, many sympathetic to the Verstehen cause have seen fit to defend a more limited claim, namely, that although the pursuit of understanding is not the only social-scientific task, all social inquiry rests on understanding. Two theses, characteristic of the Verstehen School throughout its history, are above all defended in this regard (though not all Verstehen theorists advocate both).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmpathy and Agency
Subtitle of host publicationThe Problem of Understanding in the Human Sciences
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780429969386
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2000 Taylor & Francis. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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