Explanation, understanding, and making sense in anthropology
Contemporary anthropological theory can be seen as part of the debate over explanation and understanding in the study of human phenomena. This debate has important implications for the practice of anthropology and history, and in public affairs and everyday life as well.
This dissertation focuses on the relationship between explanation and understanding--how they can be reconciled as part of a continuum or part of a larger intellectual process of interpretation, on the one hand, or how they can be separated from each other on the other. The opposition of explanation and understanding is examined in terms of object ontology, subject epistemology, and subject ontology. The authors who contributed most to this inquiry are Dilthey, Gadamer, Ricoeur, Weber, and Kroeber.