Beyond Objectivism and Relativism

Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis

RICHARD J. BERNSTEIN
Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt3fj0g8
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  • Book Info
    Beyond Objectivism and Relativism
    Book Description:

    Drawing freely and expertly from Continental and analytic traditions, Richard Bernstein examines a number of debates and controversies exemplified in the works of Gadamer, Habermas, Rorty, and Arendt. He argues that a "new conversation" is emerging about human rationality-a new understanding that emphasizes its practical character and has important ramifications both for thought and action.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0550-3
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xvii-xxii)
  5. PART ONE BEYOND OBJECTIVISM AND RELATIVISM: AN OVERVIEW
    (pp. 1-50)

    There is an uneasiness that has spread throughout intellectual and cultural life. It affects almost every discipline and every aspect of our lives. This uneasiness is expressed by the opposition between objectivism and relativism, but there are a variety of other contrasts that indicate the same underlying anxiety: rationality versus irrationality, objectivity versus subjectivity, realism versus antirealism. Contemporary thinking has moved between these and other, related extremes. Even the attempts that some have made to break out of this framework of thinking have all too frequently been assimilated to these standard oppositions. There are, however, many signs that the deep...

  6. PART TWO SCIENCE, RATIONALITY, AND INCOMMENSURABILITY
    (pp. 51-108)

    With elegant conciseness William James described “the classic stages of a theory’s career. First, you know, a new theory is attacked as absurd; then it is admitted to be true, but obvious and insignificant; finally it is seen to be so important that its adversaries claim that they themselves discovered it.”¹ Something like this has already occurred with the theory advanced by Thomas Kuhn in the twenty years since the publication of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The reaction to the book by its critics was immediate and sharp: Kuhn’s leading ideas were absurd, contradictory; and wrong.² It was even...

  7. PART THREE FROM HERMENEUTICS TO PRAXIS
    (pp. 109-170)

    The term “hermeneutics,” with its ancient lineage, has only recently begun to enter the working vocabulary of Anglo-American thinkers. Its novelty is indicated in a passage cited earlier from Thomas Kuhn’s The Essential Tension (1977) in which he confesses that “the term ‘hermeneutic’ . . . was no part of my vocabulary as recently as five years ago. Increasingly, I suspect that anyone who believes that history may have deep philosophical import will have to learn to bridge the longstanding divide between the Continental and English-language philosophical traditions.”¹

    We can trace the paths by which interest in hermeneutics has spread...

  8. PART FOUR PRAXIS, PRACTICAL DISCOURSE, AND JUDGMENT
    (pp. 171-232)

    At this stage of our inquiry, we have opened up the play—the to-and-fro movement—of science, hermeneutics, and praxis. In exploring the new image of science that has been developing in the postempiricist philosophy and history of science, we have witnessed the recovery of the hermeneutical dimension of science in both the natural and the social sciences. In the philosophy of the natural sciences, this development has been characterized as having begun with an obsession with the meaning and reference of single terms (logically proper names and ostensive definition), moved to the search for a rigorous criterion for discriminating...

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 233-260)
  10. APPENDIX: A Letter by Professor Hans-Georg Gadamer
    (pp. 261-266)
  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 267-276)
  12. SUBJECT INDEX
    (pp. 277-281)
  13. INDEX OF NAMES
    (pp. 282-285)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 286-286)