Philosophy 232 - 12.3 Continental Philosophy’s Challenge to Enlightenment Theories

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Explain the meaning of hermeneutics.
  • Contrast meaning as expressed through historicity and meaning as expressed through objective models.
  • Articulate phenomenology’s contributions to questions about the nature of reality.
  • Describe the basis for ethical action identified by phenomenology.
  • Articulate the undertanding of reality proposed by existentialism.
  • Describe Ricoeur’s narrative understanding of the self and society.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, scholars began to challenge both empiricism and rationalism. In particular, scholarship in the disciplines of hermeneutics and phenomenology questioned what we can know and how we should approach the acquisition of knowledge. Though these fields did not address social issues, they informed critical theory, which provided a new perspective on why Enlightenment social theory may not be enough to solve social problems. This section examines these ideas that lay the groundwork for critical theory.

This lesson has no exercises.

The content of this course has been taken from the free Philosophy textbook by Openstax