- Introduction to the Human
Sciences (1883; excerpts):
- Lee, Richard E. (1996). Between Wert and Wissen: A future
for the three cultures?
Presentation for "Which Science for Tomorrow? A Dialogue
on the Gulbenkian Commission Report: Open the Social Sciences.
Stanford University, June 2-3, 1996. Prof. Richard E. Lee, Fernand
Braudel Center of Binghamton University (SUNY), examines the
German historical school and offers an assessment of Dilthey's
- Bakker, J. I. (1999). Wilhelm
Dilthey: Classical sociological theorist. Quarterly Journal
of Ideology, 22(1-2), 43-82. [Online]. Downloaded 3/19/04
from the Univesity of Guelph website: http://www.uoguelph.ca/~vincent/hbakker/Dilthey.htm.
Prof. Hans Bakker provides a broad introduction to Dilthey's
thought and how it contributed to the development of modern sociology.
- Mallery, J. C., Hurwitz, R.,
& Duffy, G. (1986). Hermeneutics:
From textual explication to computer understanding? A.I.
Memory No. 871. Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. (Online). Downloaded 7/1/03 from the
Wilhelm Dilthey was born in
Bierbrich, near Wiesbaden, Germany on November 19, 1833. His
father was a theologian in the Reformed Church and Dilthey initially
studied theology as well--first at the University of Heidelberg
and subsequently at Berlin. However, he switched to philosophy
and eventually received his doctorate from Berlin in 1864. Before
finishing his degree, he served as a secondary school teacher
in schools near Berlin, a role he then gave up to devote himself
completely to scholarly work. His first university chair came
at the University of Basel (1866) and was followed by appointments
at Kiel (1868) and Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland; 1871). He succeed
to the senior chair in philosophy at the University of Berlin
in 1882 and remained there for the remainder of his life. He
retired from the classroom in 1905 and died in Seis am Shlern
(South Tirol, Austria-Hungary) on October 1, 1911.
Dilthey was a scholar of immense
intellectual curiosity and ambition. Throughout his long academic
career, he published dozens of volumes in fields such as philosophy,
aesthetics, psychology, law, and politics. He crafted intellectual
biographies of influential thinkers such as Schleiermacher, Hegel,
Goethe, and Hölderlin among others (Hawthorne, 1990). He
was influenced by the work of Kant as were so many other philosophers.
However, he found particularly important the thought of Schleiermacher
on philosophical hermeneutics and Hegel on historical change
and the understanding of human meaning.
In the 19th century, the various
kinds of science or knowledge (= Wissenshaft
in German) could be divided between (1) those like physics, chemistry,
and physiology which sought to describe, predict , and even control
the behavior of entities in the natural world (what Dilthey termed
Naturwissenschaften) and (2) those like history, psychology,
anthropology, or political science which sought to understand
the behavior of human beings (what Dilthey termed Geisteswissenshaften
[= "scientific study of the complete human person"
or, simply, the "human sciences"]. Dilthey's importance
to narrative arises from his efforts to establish those social
sciences as primarily concerned with a deep appreciation or understanding
[= Verstehen] of the actual lived experience [Erlebnis]
of individual persons. The division of the sciences in this fashion
stemmed from Dilthey's argument that the object of study of the
Geisteswissenshaften were human behaviors whose meaning
could not be separated from the intentionality of their authors
in the way that actions or activities studied by the Naturwissenshaften
could. For example, I might shoot a gun. The natural sciences
would have little difficulty in describing why and how the pressure
of my finger on the gun's trigger would initiate a set of mechanical
and chemical events which would lead to a rapidly-moving bullet
erupting from the gun's barrel. Indeed, if the gun were pointed
at the head or heart of a living creature, those same sciences
could provide a highly valid prediction of the outcome of firing
the weapon. However, from the vantage of the human sciences,
it would make a difference whether the gun were fired upon an
attacking dog, a soldier from an opposing army in time of war,
or myself in a suicide attempt. Understanding the behavior in
each of these cases requires that the meaning of the act -- my
intentionality in so acting -- be ascertained. Describing human
behavior, then, is fundamentally an act of interpretation. Dilthey
argued that the interpreter could come to understand "from
inside" the meaning of an act of another person by means
of "a psychological reenactment (Nacherleben) or
imaginative reconstruction of the experience of human actors"
(Schwandt, 2001, p. 273).
Bambach, C. R. (1995). Heidegger,
Dilthey and the crisis of historicism. Ithaca, New York:
Cornell University Press.
Bollnow, O. F. (2004). Wilhelm
Dilthey. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved
March 19, 2004, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:
Dilthey: Selected Works
Dilthey, W. (1977). Descriptive
psychology and historical understanding (R. M. Zaner, &
K. L. Heiges, Transl.). The Hague, Netherlands: Nijhoff. (Translation
of the author's Ideen über eine beschreibende und zergliedernde
Psychologie and Das Verstehen anderer Personen und ihrer
Lebensäusserungen, originally published in his Gesammelte
* Dilthey, W. (1996). Hermeneutics
and the study of history (R. A. Makkreel, & F. Rodi,
Eds.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. [Selected
Works. Vol. IV]
Dilthey, W. (1988). Introduction
to the human sciences: An atempt to lay a foundation for the
study of society and history (R. J. Betanzos, Transl.). Detroit,
MI: Wayne State University Press. (Translation of Einleitung
in die Geisteswissenschaften, originally published in 1883)
* Dilthey, W. (1989). Introduction
to the human sciences (R. A. Makkreel, & F. Rodi, Eds.).
Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univesity Press. (Originally published
in 1883) [Selected Works. Vol. I]
* Dilthey, W. (1985). Poetry
and experience (R. A. Makkreel, & F. Rodi, Eds.). Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press. [Selected Works. Vol.
* Dilthey, W. (2002). The
formation of the historical world in the human sciences (R.
A. Makkreel & F. Rodi, Eds.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University
Press. (Includes the author's Aufbau der geschichtlichen Welt
in den Geisteswissenschaften and other works.) [Selected
Works. Vol. III]
* These are four of a projected
six-volume series from Princeton University Press of the Selected
Works of Dilthey, newly translated and edited by Rudolf A.
Makkreel and Frithjof Rodi.
Hawthorn, G. (1990, October
1). [Get Real. Review of Dilthey's Introduction to the Human
Sciences]. New Republic, 203(14), 35-37.
This incisive review provides
both a biographical overview and situates this first major volume
of Dilthey's work within the intellectual context of German philosophy.
While reasonably positive toward Dilthey, Hawthorn points out
the unrealized goal of a synthesis of the Geisteswissenshaften
which D's ambition could never quite achieve. In fact, the reviewer
claims that such an overarching synthesis is an impossible goal.
Hodges, H. A. (1949). William
Dilthey: An introduction. London, UK: Routledge & Kegan
Paul. (Originally published in 1944; republished in 1969 by H.
Fertig [New York]).
Hodges, H. A. (1952). The
philosophy of Wilhelm Dilthey. London, UK: Routledge &
Kegan Paul. (Republished in 1974 by Greenwood Press [Westport,
Iggers, G. (1968). The German
conception of history. Middletown, CT.: Wesleyan University
Makkreel, R. A. (1992). Dilthey:
Philosopher of the human studies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton
Owensby, J. (1994). Dilthey
and the narrative of history. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University
Richman, H. P. (1979). Wilhelm
Dilthey: Pioneer of the human studies. Berkeley, CA: University
of California Press.
Schwandt, T. A. (2001). Dictionary
of qualitative inquiry (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.