Intersubjectivity the goal being for the reader to enter


Intersubjectivity in the Hermeneutic School claims that it is more important to
understand the object than to just observe it. Positivism was a school that
reached to explain the reality of an object that the scientist observes, it
doesn’t reach to understand the object as in the hermeneutic tradition. The
hermeneutic approach strives to self-understanding or world disclosure with the
help of special elements of cultural constructions. This approach implies a
relationship between the science and its object, even though it is a passive
one (Delanty 2005: 42).

Historical development of Hermeneutics

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developed as a substitute to the positivist approach that had dominated science
since its beginning and has contributed to the separation of social science
from natural science and its establishment as a field of its own

Hermeneutics has
its beginning in the 17th century and in German philosophy concerned
with the interpretation of biblical texts. Protestant theology reacted to the
papal authority in interpreting biblical texts; that is the hermeneutical
tradition creates as text interpretation, aiming to expose the hidden meanings
of texts. During the Enlightenment hermeneutics broadens its scope from
religious texts to text interpretation in general. According to Delanty (2005)
it was the 19th century German philosopher/theologian Friedrich
Schleiermacher who established hermeneutics as the “science of human meaning”,
in applying the interpretation of meaning in all aspects of communication
Schleiermacher differentiates between grammatical (language) and psychological
(perception) interpretation, the goal being for the reader to enter the mind of
the author through a dialogical relation. (Delanty 2005: 45)

Hermeneutics also
involved in the study of history and culture and maintained the thesis that
natural and human sciences must to be separated since the laws of society and
nature are distinct from each other and history
is exclusive to human societies. However societies have laws
that can be studied objectively. One of the very first advocates of this was
the 18th century Italian


Historian and philosopher Giambattista Vico, who argued for an
interpretative approach to the study of


History by the use of empathy and historical awareness.

Kant has been a
great influence in the hermeneutical tradition. Kant?s critical idealism
constituted of the idea that while objective reality can be known to man, this
can only be achieved through internal forms of the mind, resulting in a non-passive
perception of reality. In other words there is an objective reality but we only
perceive it through phenomena; that is to the extent that our senses allow.
(Delanty 2005)



A greatly
influential school of hermeneutics was the German Historical School, or neo-
Kantianism (neo-idealism), associated with a turn to historical thought in the
mid-19th century. Neo-Kantians rejected the ideas of Kant as being
too closely connected with natural sciences thus not being able to provide a
theory for the social sciences. Defining characteristics of the neo-Kantian
school of thought was the distinction of the social and natural sciences and
the belief in a common human nature which allows for interpretation. Among its
most prominent representatives are Dilthey, Rickert and Windelband and later
Weber and Freud who reacted both to the idealist philosophy of Kant as well as
to the positivism of the intellectual circles in Germany of their time. Dilthey
opposed causal explanation favored by positivism and instead advocated
understanding and the lived experience (Erlebnis) which can be understood as
the world of social meaning, alive in history and everyday life hermeneutics.
Dilthey was also an important supporter of the independence of social science
as a discipline. Two other important neo-Kantians were Rickert and Windelband
who argued that what separates social from natural sciences is not their object
of study but their methodology. (Delanty 2005)

Max Weber, who
succeeded in providing social science with an identity of its own, followed the

Neo-kantian line of thought of the separation
of social and natural science but broke from it in

one important aspect. While previous
neo-Kantians believed that natural sciences are characterized by explanation
and human sciences by understanding, Weber combined explanation and
understanding in his methodology. Delanty (2005) distinguishes three major
characteristics of Webers social sciences:

1)      The theory of explanatory understanding;
explanatory models are interviewed with the hermeneutic approach in a complete
way. The two kinds of understanding are the
rational understanding and the
emphatic understanding, the later one weber calls the explanatory one and the most investigated one by Weber. He saw
social science as an explanatory and significant science of all meaningful
human actions. Furthermore, he wrote that an explanation depended on how the
goals are related to the motives. Analyses of Weber say that it is important to
identify the motivations to understand the purposes and causes that lead to
action. This theory is different from Durkheims which states that the external
causes controls the social action (social facts).

The theory of
ideal types; were used to simplify the interpretation of the reality (the
social world) because it was too complex to observe directly according to
Weber. With ideal a types that was normal as it was easy to apply the
constructed theories.  Weber clamed that
the use of the ideal types was a characterization of the social sciences. A
casual explanation of a motivating meaning was the goal for the explanation in
its whole.

The ethic
neutrality of science; the ethic neutralities of science was very important
to Weber. Weber believed that there was a higher mission in science and he
argued that the social scientist to make a sacrifice to not expect science to
offer meaning (Delanty 2005: