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Cosmopolitanism and Understanding in the Social Sciences

  • Boike Rehbein
Chapter

Abstract

The chapter argues that a meaningful cosmopolitanism implies mutual understanding. Therefore, a concept of understanding that is valid in a multicentric, multicultural and multilingual world has to be developed. Against this background, the chapter explores the notions of understanding discussed in the history of the Western social sciences. It comes to the conclusion that a particular type of understanding, which is termed “existential” in this chapter, is most relevant for the context of cosmopolitanism. It focuses on being-in-the-world rather than motives, actions, objects or meaning. Existential understanding requires a particular epistemology, which this chapter explores in some detail. Finally, the ethical relevance of existential understanding is discussed.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Boike Rehbein
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt UniversityBerlinGermany

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