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“The Human” between the “life-world” and its theoretical (re)construction



The traditional split between rationality and historicity, concept and intuition, the form and content of knowledge has brought about an inappropriate approaching to humanities and social sciences. Presenting the main effects of such split, this paper aims at arguing the need to consider both the “empiric” and the “interpretive” as equally relevant for understanding our human world. It is eventually a meta-theoretical pleading for reconciling epistemology and ontology within a theory of humanities and social sciences able to avoid the two kinds of reductionism, foundationalist and textualist, related to traditional (empiricist) epistemology and respectively, to postmodernist hermeneutics.
Revista de cercetare [i interven]ie social\
Review of research and social intervention
ISSN: 1583-3410 (print), ISSN: 1584-5397 (electronic)
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“The Human” between the “life-world” and its theoretical
Revista de cercetare [i interven]ie social\, 2010, vol. 31, pp. 95-105
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Working together
“The Human” between the “life-world”
and its theoretical (re)construction
Cecilia TOH|NEANU1
The traditional split between rationality and historicity, concept and intuition,
the form and content of knowledge has brought about an inappropriate approa-
ching to humanities and social sciences. Presenting the main effects of such split,
this paper aims at arguing the need to consider both the “empiric” and the
“interpretive” as equally relevant for understanding our human world. It is even-
tually a meta-theoretical pleading for reconciling epistemology and ontology
within a theory of humanities and social sciences able to avoid the two kinds of
reductionism, foundationalist and textualist, related to traditional (empiricist)
epistemology and respectively, to postmodernist hermeneutics.
Keywords: humanities/social sciences; explanation; scientific; interpretive;
rationality; plurality
Two kinds of “experience” and the contemporary
philosophy’s dilemma
Just as traditional epistemology hinted the end of metaphysics, that is, of the
knowledge’s ontological commitments, so the historicist “new wave” also known
as postmodernism suggests the twilight of epistemology, actually, of the idea of
conceptual knowledge and rationality, whatever may be. If we would take se-
riously skeptic sayings such as Richard Rorty’s, we would live now post-philo-
sophical times, when the systematic discourse is turning into an “ironists”’ com-
mon conversation (1979: 316-319; 1989). This development of contemporary
philosophy suggests a shifting of interest from a kind of experience to another,
namely from the positivist experience to a phenomenological one. The former,
1 Associate Professor, Christian University “Dimitrie Cantemir”, Splaiul Unirii Nr.176, Bucure[ti,
Telefon: 0723-409.669, E-mail: ceciliatohaneanu”
Working together
linked to the scientific world (or objective world) and its connected notion of
testability, is meant to reduce the manifold images of the world to a single one, a
supposedly “universal conceptual framework”. The latter, signifying the sub-
jective experience of the life-world, points out the possibility of infinite conceptual
schemas, or world-views.
A question to ask is whether the postmodernism’s disregard of the concept of
rationality and its effort to getting knowledge rid of episteme is less destructive
than the neo-positivist attempt to dispose knowledge of doxa (hence, of histo-
ricity), thus imposing an alleged universal model of rationality, the scientific one.
If philosophy is to have a saying about our understanding the world, then it could
only do it by bringing together the two versions of this world - theoretical,
scientific and the non-theoretical, existential – and by equally inspiring itself
from both of them. However, it seems that, at this beginning of millennium, the
philosophy of humanities and social sciences still faces up to the dilemma: If we
admit that human reality is inseparable from its meanings “for us”, then we could
run the risk to stumble into a textualist reductionism. This is to say that social
scientists simply invent their object, hence, denying the usefulness to justifying
their own discourse. If we still embrace the assumption of ontological neutrality
of “facts”, then we expose ourselves to the danger of falling back into founda-
tionalism, whose result would be a reductionist approaching to social sciences in
terms of the physical ones. Such situation reveals a misunderstanding of the
nature of knowledge, in general, characteristic to both neo-positivist epistemology
and “new historicism”. The two of them believe that there is a principled incom-
patibility between rationality and historicity, since both embrace the founda-
tionalist supposition that rationality necessarily implies a non-temporal and non-
spatial (that is, transcendental) subject.
The “unique” (nomothetic/intentional) meaning of human world:
epistemology without ontology and its critics
Empiricist epistemology, commonly associated with the names of Carl Hempel
and William Dray, is well-known by its endeavor to dispense humanities and
social disciplines of metaphysics and to show how they can get a scientific status.
Its normative project is thus guided by the central idea that the “scientific”
excludes any ontological commitments supposedly typical to common, customary
knowledge. In other words, the “scientific” and the “daily” images of the human-
social world would be incompatible. Accordingly, humanities and social dis-
ciplines should strive to free from common knowledge that, due to its appeal to
intuition, imagination, metaphors, or vague analogies does not offer more than
narrative descriptions of facts. The daily experience would be responsible for the
low epistemological status of these disciplines since it could only supply social
scientist’ explanations with an “intuitive plausibility”.
What do such disciplines have to do in order to pass this status and to get
“rational” plausibility? Instead of merely describe individual actions or behaviors,
they should rather organize and unify them, that is, to explain them. The “cover-
ing-law” theorists, above all, Carl Hempel, the author of this model, advise the
professionals of these domains not to restrict detailing what happened, but to
explain why it happened. In their opinion, a theoretical explanation of a particular
event, however incomplete and imprecise would be, is preferable to describing it
in all its details. May Brodbeck tries to justifying the significance of explanation
in social sciences as follows: “The social scientist, deliberately selecting for study
fewer factors than actually influence the behavior in which he is interested shifts
his goal from predicting individual events or behaviors to predicting a random
variable, that is, to predicting the frequency with which this kind of behavior
occurs in a large group of individuals possessing the circumscribed number of
factors. This is the price. The reward, of course, is that instead of helplessly
gazing in dumb wonder at the infinite complexity of man and society, he has
knowledge, imperfect rather than perfect, to be sure, but knowledge not be scorned
nonetheless, of a probability distribution rather than of individual events. After
all, while we might much prefer to know the exact conditions under which cancer
develops in a particular person, it is far from valueless to know the factors which
are statistically correlated to the frequency of its occurrence” (1987, p. 316).
Therefore, the explanations of human phenomena should conform to Hempel’s
“nomothetic” model and, accordingly, they should aim at disclosing what is
“typical”, not “unique”, namely, their constant and repeatable characteristics.
Briefly, to explain an action or behavior is to deduce it (to be sure, with pro-
bability) from a comprehensive law (a “covering-law”), showing that it is an
instantiation or a particular case of that law.
The “nomothetic” model meant in their protagonists’ opinion, to account for
the knowledge of the human-social universe, puts forward the scientist ideal of
unifying knowledge, in light of it to know is (exclusively) to explain. The possi-
bility to “nomothetically” explain natural and social “facts” – this is what would
make the difference between the “genuine”, namely, scientific knowledge, and
the daily one. There is here the naïve belief, shared by the entire traditional
epistemology that “the scientific image” of the world could ever totally break
with our “daily image” of it. It ultimately means denying the relevance of the last
one for understanding our human world. The social scientist is advised not to
accept “pseudo-explanations”, but only the “legitimate” (scientific) ones, since,
however imperfect (for example, “explanation-sketches”), the second ones would
be able to make facts knowable, namely predictable. Other said, he has to limit his
discourse to what is testable. Again, knowledge means explanation, which, in
turn, is identical with the prediction, since both suppose the concept of law. The
“covering-law” model has been subject to several objections. Mainly, the attacks
against empiricist epistemology came from postmodernism and, in general, from
what is called as “new historicism”, an intellectual movement strongly affected
by the Hegelian tradition of thought.
Postmodernists, especially Derrida, denies the epistemology’s supposition of
“the universal conceptual framework” (be it “nomothetic” or “intentional”) and
hence, of the unique meaning of our world (a meaning allegedly captured by such
framework). The human universe, they say, could not be understood by means of
science: it is not knowable, hence, nor predictable. Rather, it is interpretable, and
it is so because of man’s historical condition, of his inevitably dependence upon
his “life-world”. Postmodernism rightly criticizes traditional epistemologists for
having privileged “the scientific image” of social world, but incorrectly it gives
absolute priority to the experience of the “life-world” which they turn in a source
of radically different meanings and interpretations. Since interpretations would
be incommensurable, it follows that each of them is as good as any other. It
sounds as if the human world would be a fictional construction, actually a “text”
outside which there is nothing (Derrida). This “linguistic turn” is certainly under
the influence of structuralism/post-structuralism.
As Anthony Giddens (1987, p. 195) observes, this tradition of thought, alth-
ough “dead”, “signaled some problems of major significance” for the humanities
and social sciences, such as the arbitrary nature of signs, the important role of
interpret against what is interpreted, temporality as an inherently trait of human
world’s nature. It was indeed on the impact of such themes that these sciences, but
not only, began to acknowledge their interpretative dimension and to rethink their
epistemological status. If structuralism has been an endeavor to demonstrate the
relevance of some concepts and methods of linguistics for humanities and social
theory, instead, postmodernism is an intellectual movement fighting against any
concepts and methods (see, for example, Feyerabend). Much strongly affected by
Heidegger’s existentialist hermeneutics than by the linguistics, it gives an exag-
gerate weight to subjectivity (historicity) and makes from literary discourse -
regarded as lacking any rules or norms – the unique model of approaching to our
world, be it natural or social. Thus doing, radical relativists repeat the empiricist
epistemology’s error: they also universalize a particular kind of discourse and
ultimately substitute the irrationality for the rationality. What really is vulnerable
in the traditional epistemology of social sciences? The “nomothetic” conception
of human-social knowledge stands indeed on a problematic supposition: the
possibility to separate completely the form of knowledge from its content. Em-
piricist epistemologists define the conditions (criteria) of a social science by
bracketing the nature of the human universe. It is here what Richard Rorty calls
somewhere an attempt to free from history and to establish non-historical, a-
temporal conditions of knowledge. For the “covering-law” theorists, historicity
and rationality exclude each other. The two really are incompatible once the last
one is conceived in universal, foundationalist terms.
The construction of an universal model of explanation, no matter whether the
explanation refers to the natural, or the human world is, of course, an illusory
project. Hempel’s model can only account for the scientific dimension of social
universe, not also for their perspectival aspects as well. It is quite possible to
explain some agents’ actions or human conducts in “nomothetic” terms, though
not exclusively this way. The main mistake of Hempelians is to have been regarded
the human world as wholly “nomothetically” explainable. Their pattern of ex-
planation is supposed to reveal the single (“nomothetic”) meaning of humans
actions and behaviors. Our world has however two dimensions: one, empirical,
experiential, another, existential and subjective. As really the last one is not
empirically translatable, social scientists are required to merely ignoring it. This
way, the actual conditions of knowledge are replaced with formal standards
limiting the discourse of humanities and social sciences to what is testable or, at
most, to what can be rationally debated, that is, appealing to arguments.
The “nomothetic conception of the human-social knowledge is a meta-theory
(that is, a theory about the social theory) and not a theory about the social world.
As such, it does not explain human and social phenomena; on the contrary, it
prescribes how their explanation must be (Hempel, 1966:103). A model of this
kind embodies the Aristotelian notion of first philosophy, supplying humanities
and the social sciences with an ideal of intelligibility. On the other hand, unlike
Aristotle’s first philosophy, it does not say anything explicitly about how the
human world is. These sciences are required to comply with the nomothetic
model as if (that is, by implicitly supposing that) all human actions would be
deterministically (“nomothetic”) explainable.
The same normativist conception was embraced by William Dray, the author
of the “intentional” model of humanities, despite his break with the positivist
thought. Like in Hempel, his model has a prescriptive function, aiming to define
the form of explanation in humanities and social sciences. On the other hand,
Dray’s project is, contrary to Hempel’s, to show the possibility of an autonomous
theory of human-social knowledge (what enlists Dray in the epistemological
(neo)Kantian tradition). His meta-theoretical concept of “intentional” (“rational”)
explanation is supposed to be relevant only for the human world and thus applying
exclusively to humanities and social sciences. Dray aims at rehabilitating the
significance of daily experience and of its practical concepts. His right intent of
recovering the interpretive dimension of these disciplines has lastly leads to
restricting them to what he considers as suitably explainable in terms of in-
dividuals’ free options, that is, in intentional terms. Are really the two episte-
mological concepts of “social science” free of metaphysics? What does it mean
dispensing of metaphysics? Neither Hempel nor Dray deals explicitly with the
issue of the nature of “the social”. Yet, both of their meta-theoretical concepts of
explanation implicitly contain a certain kind of metaphysics: the ontological
suppositions backing Hempel’s and Dray’s models of explanation in the social
sciences. In fact, their ontological commitments are those that underlie the dispute
between Hempel and Dray. Their meta-theoretical (epistemological) controversy
(nomothetic versus rational) translates a theoretical disagreement (determinism
versus indeterminism). We find here a good illustration of the fact that the process
of discovering our theories, including meta-theories, however abstract, inevitably
supposes some metaphysical beliefs, or hypotheses, as even Popper has acknow-
I would not end this first part of my paper before two short remarks. Firstly, the
postmodernist objections against the positivist criteria of knowledge seem ho-
wever to ignore something important and, for that reason, they are in part unjust.
Namely, that traditional epistemologists’ obsession of testability has had a deep
motivation: they all shared a cautious attitude against classical ontological theories
such as Hegel’s, whose essentialism they rightly criticized. Surely, we are living
post-positivist times, even “post-philosophical”. Yet it would be a mistake if, due
to this context, we would overlook the significance of the neo-positivists’ caution
lesson: social thought should do away with all theories and methods that, in order
to account for the nature or the course of social life, appeal to abstract, impersonal
forces, that is, to metaphysical (speculative) mechanisms. Secondly, much more
challenging than the postmodernist de-construction actually, destruction, of our
“the received (scientific) view” on the world, are some serious concerns to
(re)construct something: something as complementing, rather than substituting
the scientific view. These concerns belong to phenomenology, particularly, to
phenomenology of medicine and I will refer to them in the ending of these pages.
Bridging old philosophical schisms and the potential of a new
empirical challenge and confirmation
Rationality does not necessarily call for an a-temporal subject, so that the
epistemic dimension of social sciences can be defended (justified) without keeping
the notion of a priori. As a human-being-in-the-world, the social scientist provides
his version of social phenomena, inevitably starting from certain conceptual or
cultural frameworks. These frames of reference, that are actually the preconditions
of what we call the knowledge of “the social”, can be accepted or not, or revised
by future social scientists. Or, this shows that social theories and methods are not
so different and even incommensurable (hence equally acceptable) as postmo-
dernism holds. In spite of their being-in-the-world, social scientists are able to
debate, question, test and thus to compare different theories or models.
What then the social sciences are required in order to help us understanding
our human world? They should not account only for their manifold of plural and
conflicting hypotheses, as postmodernism claims, but also for comparing and
assessing their value, as epistemology requires. The former is relevant for the
historicity of these disciplines, the second, for their rationality. Together, they
reveal the dual nature of this kind of knowledge: humanistic and scientific,
interpretive and empirical. Neither of them should be overestimated, otherwise
we simply cannot explain, generally, the science, warns Jonathan Turner: “All
concepts are, of course, reifications in some sense; all «facts» are biased by our
methods; and all «facts» are interpreted to some extent. But, despite these pro-
blems, knowledge about the universe has been accumulated. This knowledge
could not be wholly subjective or biased: otherwise, nuclear weapons would not
explode, thermometers would not work, and airplanes would not fly, and so on. If
we took theory-building seriously in sociology, knowledge about the social uni-
verse would accumulate, albeit along the muddled path that it has in the «hard
sciences». Thus, in the long run, the world out there does impose itself as a
corrective to the theoretical knowledge.” (1987:, p. 159) The conclusion to be
drawn from here, at meta-theoretical level, is a new sort of scientific realism, a
«moderate» or «soft» one, that we could also name a «moderate» relativism.
Without it, the social sciences would be simply unintelligible. Such «soft» realism
requires us to renounce not at justifying our theories, but at doing it in terms of the
bivalent logic, as Joseph Margolis suggests. In what he calls “interpreted domains
of discourse”, such as history, sociology, social psychology, or medicine, we
should appeal to a “many-valued” logic and accept weak epistemic values such
as “plausible”, “apt”, “reasonable” and the like, that stand for the value “true”
(1995, p. 66-69). In virtue of the same realism, a theory belonging to these
domains should be regarded as a model of intelligibility or order, rather than a set
of falsifiable statements. It is, in fact, a conceptual framework apt to collect
several empirical contents, to be applied to certain social environments of the
same nature. Such model does not imply, of course, empirical consequences and
therefore it is not valuable as true or false. Would this be a reason to dub it an
abstract construction, or a fiction? No, as long as the social scientist is willing to
admit that the order discovered by him is not a pre-established one, but a post-
factum order. Doing it, he acknowledges the contextual/historical character of his
hypothesis, namely his ontological commitment and opens thus the possibility of
questioning and debating it within his scientific community.
So, even if theoretical models cannot be falsifiable - the conclusions they
involve being only probable – instead, these conclusions can be “subject to
argument and debate.” This procedure, or way of operating is not at all typical to
sociology, Jonathan Turner holds, but to most sciences. Scientists, irrespective of
their domain, can be concern with “the «why» and «how» of invariant regularities”
but the abstract laws of these regularities should be accompanied by models,
descriptions, analogies and similar “scenarios of underlying processes of these
regularities” (Turner, 1987, p.159).
Then, such “constructivist procedure” is related to the belief that the “social”
has a multi-layered nature and that, due to it, the study of society requires a
methodological pluralism. The knowledge of social phenomena cannot be based
on picking out a single method, that is, on methodological monism. Since, as
Richard Münch notices, making use solely of a procedure is “to select arbitrarily
some of the phenomenon’s actual manifold characteristics”, with no effort to put
it in correlation with the whole whose part is. Such practice, he holds, since
distorts the social phenomena, triggers imprudent and improper conclusions,
whose correction requires the appeal to a more comprehensive conceptual frame-
work. This theoretical “frame of reference” is of major importance for Münch: as
a “constructivist procedure” integrating different methods, it is responsible for
unifying and ordering the empirical data. Without it, these data would simply
remain blind, says Münch in Kantian terms, just as the absence of empirical
observations would made this conceptual frame empty (1987, pp. 130-131). From
the hermeneutic side, Paul Ricoeur points to the relevance of both explanation
and comprehension for the two types of science, humanities/social sciences and
natural sciences. Even if these types differ, a “methodological transfer” is never-
theless possible, he believes. Ricoeur sees no contradiction between understanding
“the human” and its explication by means of empirical methods. The possibility
of the “transfer” would show that the human-social world could be subject to
scientific investigation. The main point in Ricoeur’s argument is that human
world’s rationality does not fundamentally differ from the rationality of the natural
world (1978, pp. 1236-1237).
Two examples, ending this paper, are revealing for how philosophy, as meta-
theory and theory at the same time, could help to understanding our human world
as pluri-stratified, therefore open to explaining and interpreting all together.
The first is selected from history, more precisely, from what is called “the new
history”, whose beginning is related to François Braudel’s critical reflection on
his own discipline. This critique has lead Braudel to discovering a new kind of
writing history after having realized what will become the underlying supposition
of his model: the multidimensionality of time. Accordingly, the human world
implies an individual time, discernable at the level of short-term processes, a
social time, characteristic of the medium-term processes, and a geographical time,
typical to long-term processes (1969, pp. 112-119). Thus, history would unfold in
different paces corresponding to its different levels, or segments. This way, the
positivist prejudice of unqualified repeatability is undermined by the existence of
the individual time. Similarly, the “humanist” supposition of absolute uniqueness
is challenged as soon as we move from the time-segment of individual agents to
people’s history in their relationship with the geo-physical, climatic or biological
environments. At the level of geographic time, structures can be discernable.
However, Braudel’s notion of structure is quite compatible with temporality: it
envisages a reality that time wears out slower rather than an a-temporal reality.
Consequently, the structure has nothing to do with the universals; it does not
suggest an universal (deterministic) rationality. The geographical, productive, or
mental frameworks are long-lasting, though not eternal, constraints of human
behavior and actions. The three segments of time, having their own rationality,
are neither reducible to, nor separable from one another. “The new history” is
illuminating for Joseph Margolis’s idea: “selves are the sole agents of history,
though not the only causes of effective historical changes” (1995, pp. 255).
The second example comes from a relatively new branch of phenomenology,
namely, the phenomenology of medicine. Conceived as way to “personalizing”
and hence of “humanizing” medicine, it follows the Husserlian’s project: “back to
the things themselves”. This means: “back to the ill persons themselves, back
beyond theories of disease to the experiences of persons suffering from these
diseases.” (Svenaeus, 2001:87). Proponents of this project question the basic
concepts of the biomedical model and argues the need to supplementing (not
throwing off!) the physiology of the body with a phenomenological theory of
person. The last one “fundamentally relies on the individual’s interpretation and
evaluation his situation and not only on biological investigation of his body. The
physiology of the body, however, certainly affects and sets limits to the different
ways we are able to experience and interpret our being-in-the-world” (2001, p.
87). Phenomenological approach to health and illness points out the characteristics
of the two sides of what we name the “human body”. Often, what is primarily
important is not the physical body, as defined in terms of physical and chemical
proprieties typical to all human beings, but this personal (hence, unique) body.
Similarly, there are not diseases; rather, there are illnesses. The former, the
biomedical (scientific) sense of the term, refers to “a state or process causing
biological malfunction”, the last signifies “the lived experience of being ill”
(2001: 88). Phenomenology addresses the major problem of the difference bet-
ween the explaining of disease and the understanding of illness suggesting that
never will the language of medicine be wholly sufficiently to account for the
individual experience of illness.
In a way, phenomenology of medicine is, like epistemology, a normative
theory, or conception of health and illness. Yet, its intent is only to enrich “our
understanding of health”, rather than putting the medical science back. This last
goal would be an “absurd project”, Svenaeus believes, referring to “the successful
history of modern science”. So, contrary to empiricist epistemology, the pheno-
menological project does not have normativist (universalist) intentions, and it is
just for that reason that it could be promising, able to inspire “empirical challenge
and confirmation” (2001, p. 87).
Humanities and social sciences should therefore realize that the understanding
of social universe requires us to go permanently back and forth between intuition
and concept, doxa and episteme, empirical data and theoretical constructions, the
“life-world” and “the scientific world”. “The real”, whether natural or human, is
an open notion, infinitely defined and redefined through complementary con-
tributions of epistemology and ontology. Reconciling them ultimately entails a
dialogue between the two philosophical traditions, previously thought to be irre-
concilable, analytic, and hermeneutic, whose descendents are Kant and Hegel,
The analysis of knowledge in the humanities and the social sciences is probably
the most problematic that could be named. This analysis should take into account
that the entities in the human world exhibit an attribute that cannot be found
elsewhere in nature and that is called intentional. As humans’ actions are meanin-
gful, and as this meaning has to be revealed, the interpretation is necessary to
humanities and social sciences - although not exclusive to them (having been also
present in natural sciences: an electron is as interpretive as a poem, Heidegger
noted somewhere).
But the interpretive should not be a source of confusions finally leading to the
radical relativist conclusion that the real, whether natural or social, is a pure
invention or fiction. The lesson to be drawn is not a post-positivist one. Even if
the humanities and social sciences are doubly interpretive (as Charles Taylor says,
considering that their objects are self-interpreting agents), what they do invent are
concepts, not objects. Therefore, while giving up the positivist stance of robust
realism, it becomes necessary to advocate a weak or moderate realism whose
absence would make these sciences simply unintelligible.
It is only through it that we can explain why, though fallible, they do supply an
increasingly understanding of our human and social world. And they can do it by
using both quantitative and qualitative methods. It is to be part of our general
understanding of these sciences that the notions of explanation and interpretation
are not kept strictly apart.
2 An original reading of the relationship between the two philosophical traditions, the Kantian and
the Hegelian, is offered by Tom Rockmore. Contrary to the current opinion, Rockmore regards
Hegel not only as an anti-Kantian. Rather he argues that Hegel actually completed Kant’s
project of legitimating our knowledge by abandoning, however, ‘the linear”, that is, tran-
scendental, strategy of his predecessor in favor o a “circular”, namely, hermeneutical, one
(Rockmore: 1993).
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During the last three decades we have witnessed what might be called a revival of the philosophy of medicine and health. For different reasons the insight has become more widespread that the success of medical science by itself will never provide us with answers to all problems of clinical practice. Medical science itself does not provide us with a language in which we can carry out a philosophy of medicine and health; that is, a language in order to broach such questions as ‘What is medicine?’ and ‘What is health?’2 In this paper I will suggest that phenomenology provides us with such a language in its focus on lived experience — that is the feelings, thoughts and actions of the individual person living in the world. Such a theory of health will of course be normative, since it will fundamentally rely on the individual’s interpretation and evaluation of his situation and not only on a biological investigation of his body.3 The physiology of the body, however, certainly affects and sets limits to the different ways we are able to experience and interpret our being-in-the-world. To develop a phenomenological theory of health is, therefore, not intended as an attempt to replace biomedical research. In light of the successful history of modern medicine that would certainly be an absurd project. Phenomenology is meant to enrich our understanding of health in adding to the disease-level analysis a level of analysis that addresses the questions of how the physiological states are lived as meaningful in an environment.
316 p., ref. bib. : ref. et notes dissem. Fernand Braudel a toujours plaidé pour une nécessaire unification des sciences de l'homme. Tel est le thème commun des articles ici rassemblés. L'histoire, selon lui, part d'une réflexion sur la multiplicité des temps, elle est une dialectique de la durée, à la fois étude du passé et du présent. Elle peut et doit à ce titre intéresser les sciences voisines et s'assimiler en retour leurs diverses techniques. Mais aucune science particulière, aussi plurielle soit-elle, n'est capable de mobiliser l'ensemble de l'humain. Et l'historien qui se veut économiste, sociologue, anthropologue, linguiste... cède à un impérialisme scientifique que Fernand Braudel redoute autant que le cloisonnement des frontières. Souci de l'unité et respect de la diversité, tels sont les principes d'un "marché commun du savoir" auquel Fernand Braudel a contribué plus que tout autre.
Before and After Hegel
  • T Rockmore
Rockmore, T. (1993). Before and After Hegel, University of California Press, Berkeley/ Los Angeles/London. (1998) ~nainte [i dup\ Hegel, Editura {tiin]ific\, Bucure[ti (trans. Cecilia Toh\neanu).
Historied Thought, Constructed World. A Conceptual Primer of the Turn of the Millennium
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Margolis, J. (1995). Historied Thought, Constructed World. A Conceptual Primer of the Turn of the Millennium, University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles and London.
Parsonian Theory Today
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Münch, R., (1987). Parsonian Theory Today: In Search of a New Synthesis, in Giddens, A. & Turner, J. (ed.), Social Theory Today, Stanford University Press, Stanford. Ricoeur, P., (1987). Philosophy, in Havet, J. (ed.), Main Trends Research in the Social and Human Sciences, Mouton Publishers/ Unesco, Paris.