Erklären and Verstehen

Topics: Scientific method, Science, Social sciences Pages: 2 (515 words) Published: November 24, 2010
Philosophy of Science

Erklären and Verstehen

Erklären and Verstehen are two clearly defined methods used in science, however, one supports the human sciences and the other works in the natural sciences. We will describe both of these methods and add an suitable example, we will start off with Erklären. In natural sciences events or processes are observed and explained in terms of physical laws. This method is called Erklären, which is German for explaining. Nowadays this scientific method is mainly used in biology, physics and chemistry; for example when one wants to explain how come a meteorite’s course can be affected, one should look at physical laws such as gravity. Because we know that Jupiter’s gravitational pull is so strong, considering it’s mass is over a 100 times greater than Earth’s mass, that objects from far away can be influenced by it and possibly be pulled out of their initial course. The other method is Verstehen, which is German for understanding, this is a method of human sciences. When using this method, one tries to understand the actions by the use of reason. In other to understand what has just happened to person A, person B has to try and put himself into the shoes of A and understand why the actions caused by person A have just occurred. The more precisely one can impersonates the other person, the better the understanding will be. For example if a psychologist tries to understand why patient A has problems in his life, he can examine the lifeline and perhaps find an event that caused the problems that occurred later on. An classic example is the posttraumatic stress disorder caused by events that have taken place in a warzone. Now we want to know if one of the two theories are usable or are being used in the science of International Business. When looking at the method of Verstehen you would try to put yourself in the shoes of another person to get a better understanding, it could be the case that the level of understanding...
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