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“The human studies are distinguished from the sciences of nature first of all in that the latter have for their objects facts which are presented to consciousness as from outside, as phenomena and given in isolation, while the objects of the former are given originaliter from within as real and as a living continuum. As a consequence there exists a system of nature for the physical and natural sciences only thanks to inferential argument which supplement the data of experience by means of a combination of hypotheses. In the human sciences, on the contrary, the nexus of psychic life constitutes originally a primitive and fundamental datum. We explain natur, we understand psychic life”.

Wilhelm Dilthey: “Idea concerning a descriptive and analytic psychology”, 1894, in “descriptive psychology and historical understanding”, translated by r.m Zaner and k.l Heiges, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague 1977, page 27. (ISBN 9024719518).

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