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Publication Details

The Problem of Explanation and Interpretation in Social Sciences

(Original title: Problém explanácie a interpretácie v spoločenských vedách)
Filozofia, 42 (1987), 3, 323-332.
Type of work: Papers - The Problem of Methodology of Social Sciences
Publication language: Slovak

In the paper the relationship between explanation and interpretation in the theories of social sciences is studied. The specific character of these two functions is viewed from the aspect of the possibility to exploit practically the theory in the activity of social subjects. The author underlines that the scientific cognition in itself is not an instruction for a practical activity. It becomes a instruction only after it has been understood and appropriated by social subjects. The understanding of the theory is mediated through its philosophical interpretation which is based on the explanating function of the theory, but it is not identical with it. The author sees the difference mainly in the fact that interpretation is determined by the aims and the signification of the activity of social subjects and explanation is determined by the needs and the level of development of science.

The paper calls attention to the thesis that it is necessary to connect multi-component explanatory procedures with the monistic principle of interpretation of the sense of the theory from the standpoint of the humanist ideal of the activity of social subjects.

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