Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Understanding: the ability to give reasons for a distinction or to justify a selection of options. See also actions, meaning, knowledge.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Wilhelm Dilthey on Understanding - Dictionary of Arguments

Gadamer I 235
Understanding/Finiteness/Infinfinity/History/Dilthey/Gadamer: Must not the historical conditionality of consciousness be an insurmountable barrier to its completion in historical knowledge?
Gadamer I 236
The foundation of history in a psychology of understanding, as Dilthey envisioned it, places the historian in precisely that idealistic simultaneity with his or her object that we call aesthetic and admire in Ranke. Of course, the decisive question remains, how the finite human nature should be able to achieve such infinite understanding. Can this really have been Dilthey's opinion?
DiltheyVsHegel: Didn't Dilthey insist towards Hegel that one has to hold on to the consciousness of one's own finiteness? Here alone one has to look more closely. His criticism of Hegel's rational idealism meant only the apriorism of his concept speculation - the inner infinity of the spirit had no fundamental gravity for him but was positively fulfilled in the ideal of a historically enlightened reason, which would have matured into the genius of "understanding everything" (German: "Allesverstehen").
Infinity/Dilthey: For Dilthey, the consciousness of finiteness did not mean an infinity of consciousness and no limitation. Rather, it testifies to life's ability to rise above all barriers in energy and activity. In this respect, the potential infinity of the spirit is represented in him. Certainly not speculation, but historical reason is the way in which this infinity is actualized. Historical understanding spreads out over all historical circumstances and is truly universal because it has its firm ground in the totality and infinity of the spirit. For this, Dilthey follows the old teaching, which derives the possibility of understanding from the sameness of human nature.
The limits set to the universality of understanding by the historical finiteness of our being are thus only of a subjective nature to him. Certainly, he can nevertheless recognize something positive in them that will be fruitful for knowledge; thus he assures that only sympathy makes real understanding possible.(1) >Sympathy/Dilthey.

1. Dilthey, Ges. Schriften V, 277

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Wright I 153
Understanding/Dilthey/Wright, G. H.: Dilthey's Concept of Understanding (W. Dilthey: Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften, 1883; W. Dilthey: Ideen über eine beschreibende und zergliedernde Psychologie, 1894) was originally strongly "psychologistic" and "subjectivistic". Later he emphasized - obviously under Hegel's influence - the "objective character of the achievements of the method of understanding. (especially W. Dilthey: Die Entstehung der Hermeneutik , 1900, Appendix S. 332-338.)

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Dilth I
W. Dilthey
Gesammelte Schriften, Bd.1, Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften Göttingen 1990

Gadamer I
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik 7. durchgesehene Auflage Tübingen 1960/2010

Gadamer II
H. G. Gadamer
The Relevance of the Beautiful, London 1986
German Edition:
Die Aktualität des Schönen: Kunst als Spiel, Symbol und Fest Stuttgart 1977

WrightCr I
Crispin Wright
Truth and Objectivity, Cambridge 1992
German Edition:
Wahrheit und Objektivität Frankfurt 2001

WrightCr II
Crispin Wright
"Language-Mastery and Sorites Paradox"
Truth and Meaning, G. Evans/J. McDowell, Oxford 1976

WrightGH I
Georg Henrik von Wright
Explanation and Understanding, New York 1971
German Edition:
Erklären und Verstehen Hamburg 2008

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