The problem of other cultures and other periods in action explanations

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 21 (3):345-366 (1991)
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This essay develops a general account of one type of explanation found in history in particular: that an individual action is conceived as an exemplification of a rather complex schema of practical inference, under the provision that the facts which instantiate the various terms of the schema have an intelligible connection to one another. The essay then raises the question whether historians, anthropologists, and their contemporaneous audience can have an internal understanding of the actions of others, where those others come from radically different cultures or times from the historians or anthropologists. An account is offered that, arguably, can resolve this problem and do justice to both the claim of internal understanding and the presumed cultural differentness between the agents studied and the historians and anthropologists who do the study.



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References found in this work

Explanation and understanding.Georg Henrik von Wright - 1971 - Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
The idea of history.Robin George Collingwood - 1962 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by der Dussen & J. W..
The Idea of History.R. G. Collingwood - 1946 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):252-253.
Explanation and Understanding.Georg Henrik von Wright - 1974 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 7 (3):187-190.

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