The aim of the article is to apply the concept of the hermeneutical circle to the position of a sociologist. The hermeneutical problem in sociology is exemplified by research into social action that examines how sociological understanding captures meanings attributed to the action by the actors themselves. Although several distinguished theorists have already introduced the idea of hermeneutics into sociology, none of them pursued the topic of the hermeneutical circle in detail. This article applies the hermeneutical circle to sociology through the concepts of ‘pre-understanding’ and the ‘fusion of horizons’. The analysis results in the acknowledgement of epistemological pluralism in sociology and leads to the conclusion that the justification of truth in sociology cannot be simply a matter of correspondence-based verification, but must involve a form of decision-making about true knowledge within an intersubjective sociological rationality.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.