Inner Experience and Articulation: Wilhelm Dilthey’s Foundational Project and the Charge of Psychologism

Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 8 (2):347-375 (2018)
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This paper seeks to re-assess Dilthey’s descriptive psychology in light of the charge of “psychologism”. The paper has two goals. First, I seek to give a fine-grained reconstruction of Dilthey’s foundational project. I provide a systematic account of how Dilthey sought to ground the knowledge claims of the human sciences in inner experience. I place special emphasis on Dilthey’s concept of “articulation” which mediates between inner experience and psychological knowledge, as well as between individual psychology and knowledge about the socio-historical world. Second, I re-assess the allegedly “psychologistic” aspects of Dilthey’s philosophy. I reconstruct how Dilthey’s critics Husserl, Windelband and Rickert understood psychologism, highlight commonalities between them and explain why Dilthey’s approach seemed “psychologistic” from their perspective. At the same time, I show that Dilthey’s philosophical thinking goes against the very presuppositions that the “psychologism”-charges are usually based upon. The paper concludes with some reflections on the transition from Dilthey's descriptive psychology to his mature hermeneutics.

Author's Profile

Katherina Kinzel
Utrecht University


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