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Hardcover | Out of Print | 320 pp. | 5.9 x 8.9 in | December 1984 | ISBN: 9780262010795
Paperback | $33.00 X | £27.95 | 320 pp. | 5.9 x 8.9 in | March 1988 | ISBN: 9780262510417
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Understanding and Explanation

A Transcendental-Pragmatic Perspective
Translated by Georgia Warnke


The explanation versus understanding debate was important to the philosophy of the social sciences from the time of Dilthey and Weber through the work of Popper and Hempel. In recent years, with the development of interpretive approaches in hermeneutics, phenomenology, and language analysis, the problematic has become absolutely central. The broad literature to which it has given rise, while still split along "analytic" versus "continental" lines, shows increasing signs of a reunification in philosophy. G. H. von Wright's important book, Explanation and Understanding, originally published in 1971, is a good example of this trend.In Understanding and Explanation, Karl-Otto Apel takes von Wright's work as a point of departure for a rigorous, penetrating analysis of the issues involved. After reviewing the failure of earlier discussions to resolve these issues, Apel develops his own approach in light of the turn from logico-semantic to pragmatic analysis of language in post-Wittgensteinian philosophy. In doing so, he constructs bridges that reach back to themes and positions of the German tradition of the Geisteswissenschaften, but from strikingly new angles.Karl-Otto Apel holds the chair for social philosophy at the University of Frankfurt. His book is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.

About the Author

Thomas McCarthy is John Schaffer Professor in the Humanities at Northwestern University and the editor of the MIT Press series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought.


“"Of special interest to the English-language audience is the opportunity to see familiar (and hotly disputed) issues of action theory and the philosophy of (social and natural) science reflected in a framework deeply embedded in the tradition(s) of Kant, Hegel, Max, Dilthey, Max Weber, and the critical theory of the Frankfurt School." John Connolly , Inquiry”