. Johann Gustav Droysen on Understanding - Dictionary of Arguments

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Understanding: the ability to give reasons for a distinction or to justify a selection of options. See also actions, meaning, knowledge.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Johann Gustav Droysen on Understanding - Dictionary of Arguments

Gadamer I 216
Understanding/Droysen/Gadamer: The philosophical significance of Droysen's historiography lies precisely in the fact that he seeks to free the concept of understanding from the indeterminacy of aesthetic-pantheistic communion that he has with Ranke and formulates his conceptual preconditions. The first of these preconditions is the concept of expression(1). Understanding is understanding of expression. An inner being is immediately present in an expression. But the inner being, "the inner essence" is the first and actual reality.
Gadamer: Droysen stands here entirely on Cartesian soil and in the succession of Kant and Wilhelm von Humboldt. The individual "I" is like a lonely point in the world of phenomena. But in its utterances, especially in language, basically in all forms in which it is able to express itself, it is no longer a lonely point. It belongs to the world of the intelligible (German: "verständlich", derived from "Verstehen" - understanding).
Historical understanding is thus not of a fundamentally different kind than linguistic understanding. Like language, the world of history does not have the character of a pure spiritual being.
Droysen: "Wanting to understand the ethical and historical world, means above all to recognize,
that it is neither merely docetic nor merely metabolic"(2).
Gadamer: That is said against Buckle's flat empiricism, but it is also true the other way round against the historical-philosophical spiritualism of Hegel, for example. >History/Droysen
Gadamer I 221
The concept of understanding now retains the mark of a final immediacy for Droysen despite all the mediation (see >Research/Droysen). "The possibility of understanding lies in the congenial nature of the utterances that are available to us as historical material." "We are and feel towards people, human expressions and designs in essential equality and reciprocity" (§ 9). Just as understanding connects the individual "I" with the moral commonalities to which it belongs, so these commonalities themselves - family, people, state, religion - are understandable as expressions. >Sense/Droysen.

1. Cf. below p. 341 f. , 471 f. und Bd. 2 der Ges. Werke, Exkurs VI, p. 384ff.
2. Droysen (ed. Rothacker). p. 65.

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Wright I 153
Understanding/Droysen/Wright, G. H.: (J. G. Droysen, Enzyklopädie und Methodologie der Geschichte, 1857 p. 25): Our historical understanding is exactly the same as we understand the one who speaks with us.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Droys I
J. G. Droysen
Grundriss der Historik Paderborn 2011

Gadamer I
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik 7. durchgesehene Auflage Tübingen 1960/2010

Gadamer II
H. G. Gadamer
The Relevance of the Beautiful, London 1986
German Edition:
Die Aktualität des Schönen: Kunst als Spiel, Symbol und Fest Stuttgart 1977

WrightCr I
Crispin Wright
Truth and Objectivity, Cambridge 1992
German Edition:
Wahrheit und Objektivität Frankfurt 2001

WrightCr II
Crispin Wright
"Language-Mastery and Sorites Paradox"
Truth and Meaning, G. Evans/J. McDowell, Oxford 1976

WrightGH I
Georg Henrik von Wright
Explanation and Understanding, New York 1971
German Edition:
Erklären und Verstehen Hamburg 2008

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2024-05-21
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