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27.02.2018 | Theoretical / Philosophical Paper | Ausgabe 3/2018

Human Studies 3/2018

Toward a General Theory of Understanding. Schutzian Theory as Proto-hermeneutics

Zeitschrift:
Human Studies > Ausgabe 3/2018
Autor:
Dániel Havrancsik

Abstract

This paper aims to explore the relations between Schutzian theory and hermeneutics. After presenting the connections between hermeneutic thought and Schutz’s work from a historical point of view, it will argue that despite its significant differences from hermeneutic theory, Schutzian theory can be utilized as a kind of proto-hermeneutics. By now, the heterogeneous movement of the interpretive social sciences has reached an established position, but with their growing reliance on the impulses coming from philosophical hermeneutics, the latent problem comes to the foreground: the former demand for an action-theoretical grounding has faded away. Currently, action theory itself is no more dominated by the work of interpretively minded authors, but by the theories of rational choice. This results in a false opposition between the explanatory models, which base their arguments on historical, cultural, and linguistic factors, and those, which focus on the plane of the decisions of individuals. Bypassing the objectivism present in both the rational choice approach and hermeneutics, Schutz’s pragmatic theory of the life-world, originating from both interpretive and pragmatic intellectual influences, may be useful to overcome this opposition, and can serve as a proto-hermeneutical point of departure: that is, as a theory which cannot alone take over the duty of hermeneutics, but which can complement hermeneutics on a fundamental level.

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