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Displaying: 1-11 of 11 documents


1. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Peg Birmingham With Profound Gratitude to David Pellauer
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2. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
David Pellauer Work to be Done
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This plenary address to the 2013 annual meeting of the North American Society for Philosophical Hermeneutics is intended to shift the discussion beyond the study of individual figures like Gadamer and Ricoeur. Beyond the distinction between ontological and epistemological approaches to hermeneutics, and even that between regional and general hermeneutics, it seeks to pose three areas needing further inves­tigation. At the level of presuppositions and assumptions, more needs to be said about how we can say “we understand”; at the level of practice, there is the question of how one evaluates not just competing interpretations but any interpretation; and at a more basic level constitutive of hermeneutic philosophy, the question of reflexivity—that I/we understand that I/we understand—remains to be explored.
3. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Hans-Herbert Kögler The Crisis of a Hermeneutic Ethic
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The central question of the essay is: How is a hermeneutic ethic possible, given that its conditions of possibility may seem in crisis if explicit criteria for normative evaluation are rejected and the interpreting subject seems fully integrated into a process of open-ended contextual understanding. The emerging possibility of a situated ethos of dialogue, however, is challenged by the administrative and instrumental destruction of tradition. In response, a careful reinterpretation of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s claim that interpretation is per se ethical provides us with the normative ideal of dialogical openness. Yet Gadamer’s broad-brushed rejection of social-scientific research is replaced by the subtle proposal for a reflective co-operation between dialogical understanding and sociological thought. Now the social sciences and social theory either reconstruct empirical sources of the ethos of dialogue, or they deconstruct (via empirical analysis) the forces of discursive and social power that undermine the realization of our ethical potential.
4. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Joseph Gruber Hermeneutic Availability and Respect for Alterity
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Hans-Georg Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics has come under criticism for his treatment of the other. Generally these critiques charge that Gadamer fails to give the other due consideration and instead collapses her into a non-challenging conversational partner of the interpreter or listener. Robert Bernasconi, in his “‘You Don’t Know What I’m Talking About’: Alterity and the Hermeneutic Ideal” and “‘Y’All Don’t Hear Me Now’: On Lorenzo Simpson’s The Unfinished Project,” charges that the hermeneutic model of conversation is unable to respect the alterity of an other that wishes to issue a truly radical critique of the conversation. Against this characterization I contend that Gadamer’s account of the other does indeed provide for an other that is neither assimilated nor prevented from announcing a thorough challenge, so long as the comparison that Gadamer draws between the hermeneutic task of reading a text and the relationship between the listener and the other is taken to its full extent.
5. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Gaëlle Fiasse Ricœur’s Hermeneutics of the Self: On the In-between of the Involuntary and the Voluntary, and Narrative Identity
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The article focuses on the in-between of the voluntary and the involuntary in Ricoeur’s hermeneutics of the self. From the triad of passivity (the flesh, conscience and the other), through the intentional act, the author analyzes the empty place in Ricoeur’s hermeneutics of voluntary actions that can appear to be involuntary, such as actions motivated by passions but which nonetheless remain in the self’s responsibility and in the domain of forgiveness. In Ricoeur’s hermeneutics, character belongs to the realm of sameness and the absolute involuntary. The author thus emphasizes the possible ways in which we may work on our character and the problems of equating narrative identity with the self and identity. The story of our life cannot be reduced to our lived story nor to our narrative identity, since it also involves involuntary events that do not necessarily say much about who the self is.
6. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
John Arthos What Is Φρόνησις?: Seven Hermeneutic Differences in Gadamer and Ricoeur
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This essay is an assessment of the crucial differences between the herme­neutics of Paul Ricoeur and Hans-George Gadamer in the wake of Ricoeur’s final works and death. I take as a jumping-off point Jean Grondin’s recent exposition of seven cardinal differences between the two perspectives. I aggregate these seven differences along two axes which cross on the relation of hermeneutics to φρόνησις, and I argue that each axis points to a major flaw in the respective hermeneutics of each thinker. Finally I reflect on the implications of these defects for hermeneutics going forward.
7. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Greg Lynch The Intentional Priority of the Question
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In Truth and Method Gadamer makes the curious claim that “we cannot have experiences without asking questions.” At first blush, at least, this appears to be patently false. We have experiences all the time without asking ourselves anything. In this paper I offer an alternative reading of Gadamer’s claim that does not fall prey to this objection, one that centers around his analysis of the question as a structure that can be implicitly present in experience even when no explicit questioning occurs. Unpacking this sheds interesting light on a central, but often overlooked, aspect of Gadamer’s hermeneutics: his account of intentionality. According to this account, questioning enjoys a certain ‘priority’ over other types of intentional activity. Building on Gadamer’s largely unsystematic comments, I offer an analysis of what this priority consists in and an argument for Gadamer’s claim that it obtains.
8. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
David Vessey Philosophical Hermeneutics and the Liber Naturae
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The history of philosophical hermeneutics is one of expanding scope—moving from the interpretation of religious texts, to all texts, to understanding in the human sciences, to all understanding. As its scope expands it intersects with a wider range of philosophical traditions; only by making these intersections explicit can the key themes of philosophical hermeneutics come forward. I consider two central hermeneutic claims—that nature can be thought of as a text and that insights drawn from understanding texts illuminate all understanding. These ideas have roots in the Liber Naturae, especially in the writings of Hugh of St. Victor and of Robert Boyle. Understanding how they each see nature as a text enables us to clarify how Hans-Georg Gadamer must see it and draws our attention to his neglected phenomenology of reading.
9. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Walter Brogan James Risser's Contemporary Hermeneutics: The Way-Making Community of Those Who Are Strange
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This article is an interpretive analysis of James Risser’s book The Life of Understanding: A Contemporary Hermeneutics. I focus on the key elements of Risser’s notion of community and what I call his hermeneutics of the strange and foreign. The article pays particular attention to some of the most important themes in Risser’s book: aesthetics and the flash of beauty; language and the poetic word; the transmission of tradition; the movement of Ruinanz and the circulation of life; weaving. Overall, I attempt to trace the nexus of Plato-Gadamer-Risser in Risser’s text in order to trace the emergence of a contemporary hermeneutics after Gadamer that is developed by Risser in this text.
10. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
Theodore George Remarks on James Risser's "The Life of Understanding: A Contemporary Hermeneutics"
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The purpose of this piece is to examine the contribution made to the philosophical study of hermeneutics by James Risser’s recently published book, The Life of Understanding: A Contemporary Hermeneutics. The author argues that Risser’s emphasis on the relation of understanding to factical life places him among contemporaries, such as Donatella di Cesare and Günter Figal, who seek to advance hermeneutics beyond the context of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s approach. The author argues that Risser’s hermeneutics is distinguished by his concern for the radical finitude at stake in the experience of tradition, language, and beauty. In view of this, the author broaches questions that bring into focus the proximity between Risser’s hermeneutics and Jacques Derrida’s project of deconstruction.
11. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 1
James Risser A Response to My Commentators
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This article is a response to comments made by Walter Brogan and Theodore George about my book, The Life of Understanding.