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Any theory intended to describe and analyze socio-historical reality cannot restrict itself to the human spirit and disregard the totality of human nature.

Wilhelm Dilthey

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Jos de Mul The Tragedy of Finitude: Dilthey's Hermeneutics of Life (New Haven: Yale University Press 2004). For Dilthey like Hegel "spirit" (Geist) has a cultural rather than a social meaning. Makkreel Dilthey: Philosopher of the Human Studies (Princeton: Princeton University Press 1993).

As a polymathic philosopher working in a modern research university Dilthey's research interests revolved around questions of scientific methodology historical evidence and history's status as a science. He could be considered an empiricist in contrast to the idealism prevalent in Germany at the time but his account of what constitutes the empirical and experiential differs from British empiricism and positivism in its central epistemological and ontological assumptions which are drawn from German literary and philosophical traditions. Wilhelm Dilthey (German: [ˈdɪltaɪ]; 19 November 1833 – 1 October 1911) was a German historian psychologist sociologist and hermeneutic philosopher who held Hegel's Chair in Philosophy at the University of Berlin.

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