, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 471-474
Date: 11 Oct 2011

Wilhelm Dilthey: Selected Works, Volume II: Understanding the Human World. Edited with Introduction by Rudolf A. Makkreel and Frithjof Rodi

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Understanding the Human World is a welcome collection of Dilthey’s key philosophical and psychological writings from the 1890s, a highly productive and controversial period in the development of his thought. Dilthey’s endeavors to give both naturalistic and humanistic strategies their due regard and reconceive epistemology through the methods and data of the sciences, particularly history and psychology, led to the negative reaction of both positivists and idealists. No aspect of his thought was more provocative than his advocacy of a descriptive and analytic psychology as a “human science” (Geisteswissenschaft), which was opposed by those who considered psychology an exclusively naturalistic experimental science, including pioneering experimental psychologists such as Ebbinghaus and Wundt who pursued reductionist programs. Dilthey’s critics also included Neo-Kantian philosophers, in particular Windelband and Rickert, who protected the distinctiveness of the “cultural sciences,” as sci ...