Guy Widdershoven
VU University Amsterdam
Summary If action theory is to be relevant for the study of social phenomena, its scope has to be enlarged so as to include social structures. A hermeneutic theory of action, which draws on the thoughts of Gadamer, Merleau-Ponty, Ricoeur and Giddens, can meet this requirement. The hermeneutic concept of action, which emphasises the importance of tradition, style and rituals, demonstrates that action and structure presuppose and explain each other. The mutual relationship between action and structure is particularly clear in theories of human development in the domain of psychology, psychotherapy and education. These theories can be used to construct a theory of social evolution, as has been developed by Habermas. By integrating structural, theoretical and critical points of view, a hermeneutic theory of action opens a perspective in which action theory and social theory might be successfully combined
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DOI 10.1007/BF01800836
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