Controversies in Naming Humanities

Document Type : Original Article



In the present paper, we will study the various proposed names for the disciplines concerned with human studies: “human sciences” or “humanities” (Geisteswissen-schaten), “cultural sciences” (Kulturwissenschaften), “moral sciences” (Moral-wissenschaften) “social sciences” (Sozialwissenschaften). At the same time, we will try to give an overview of the philosophical background of the above rival names. The rivalry between the title “human sciences”, which was proposed by Wilhelm Dilthey, and the title “cultural sciences”, which was suggested by the New-Kantians such as Max Weber, shows one side of this philosophical discussion in the second half of 19 century. On the other side of this philosophical challenge stood John Steward Mill who put forward “moral sciences” for this area of knowledge. He is inspired by the whole system of Aristotelian knowledge and its classification. Especially he looks at ethics and logic. In our discussion, we try to thematize social sciences as the pivot of contemporary malpractice with its thoughtless application of the rubric for humanities as a whole. Thus we suggest that the reduction of human sciences ought to be avoided. 


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