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Continental Philosophy of Social Science

Continental Philosophy of Social Science demonstrates the unique and autonomous nature of the continental approach to social science and contrasts it with the Anglo-American tradition. Yvonne Sherratt argues for the importance of an historical understanding of the Continental tradition in order to appreciate its individual, humanist character. Examining the key traditions of hermeneutic, genealogy, and critical theory, and the texts of major thinkers such as Gadamer, Ricoeur, Derrida, Nietzsche, Foucault, the Early Frankfurt School and Habermas, she also contextualizes contemporary developments within strands of thought stemming back to Ancient Greece and Rome. Sherratt shows how these modes of thinking developed through medieval Christian thought into the Enlightenment and Romantic eras, before becoming mainstays of twentieth-century disciplines. Continental Philosophy of Social Science will serve as the essential textbook for courses in philosophy or social sciences.
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Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. The Tradition of Hermeneutics: 1. Ancient hermeneutics; 2. Biblical hermeneutics; 3. German philosophical hermeneutics: Enlightenment and Romanticism; 4. German philosophical hermeneutics: phenomenology and Existentialism; 5. Continental philosophical hermeneutics post-war; Part II. The Tradition of Genealogy: 1. The history of genealogy: Nietzsche; 2. The theory of genealogy: Foucault; 3. Application of genealogy; Part III. The Tradition of Critical Theory: 1. The history of critical theory; 2. Critical theory I; 3. Critical theory II.

About the Author

Yvonne Sherratt is British Academy Researcher in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oxford. She has taught at the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh and Wales, and is the author of Adorno's Positive Dialectic.


This ambitious and wide-ranging book asks what recent continental philosophy can contribute to our understanding of the social sciences. Yvonne Sherratt argues that continental thought since the late nineteenth century offers a distinctive way of reflecting on social science. She sets out to explain what is unique about the continental approach, to distinguish its main strands, and to show that it is a promising alternative to Anglo-American work in the field. Sherratt's subject is important, and a discussion of it is long overdue...We should be glad that someone has written a book on continental philosophy of social science. The figures Sherratt discusses have a great deal to teach us about the social sciences. Her book will provide a valuable service if it provokes further discussion of this important but neglected topic. Sherratt also identifies a promising way of thinking about this topic. The notion of humanism is a helpful frame for making sense of continental philosophy of social science, and for explaining what is distinctive about it. --Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2006.09.08

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