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Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 10, 2010

Phenomenology and Psychology

Eric S. Nelson
Pages 19-44
DOI: 10.7761/SP.10.19

Impure Phenomenology
Dilthey, Epistemology, and Interpretive Psychology

Responding to critiques of Dilthey’s interpretive psychology, I revisit its relation with epistemology and the human sciences. Rather than reducing knowledge to psychology and psychology to subjective understanding, Dilthey articulated the epistemic worth of a psychology involving (1) an impure phenomenology of embodied, historically-situated, and worldly consciousness as individually lived yet complicit with its naturally and socially constituted contexts, (2) experience- and communication-oriented processes of interpreting others, (3) the use of third-person structural-functional analysis and causal explanation, and (4) a recognition of the ungroundability, facticity, and conflict inherent in knowledge and life.