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In contrast to explanation, the listing of the causal rules governing events, scientifically observable processes, or functional relationships, “understanding” addresses itself toward meaningful human behavior and the resultant meaningful objectified forms this behavior takes on within the fields of economy, politics, culture, and the arts. In comparison to the (philosophical) term knowledge, understanding is as a term more extensive, yet at the same time subject to greater limitations. It is more extensive in that it connotes a familiarity with the lifeworld, and everything belonging to this context. For this familiarity constitutes a precondition for the acquisition of knowledge through reason. The limitations of the term become apparent in relation to the interpretation of individual constructs of meaning: values, behavioral patterns, and motives. However, these very ...

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