Hermeneutical project in modern philosophy
In a broad sense, hermeneutics means the art of interpreting texts. It deals with different relations between speakers and listeners, between language and the world. Statements are interpreted as an expression:
→ first, the speaker's intentions;
→ secondly, the interpersonal relationship;
→ Thirdly, the objective state of affairs;
→ Finally, the relationship of the given utterance to the system of the language as a whole.
When a speaker expresses himself within the social context, he enters into a relationship not only with the current state of affairs, but also with his own intentions and expectations, as well as with the norms and rules of the world of social interaction.
Philosophical hermeneutics has deep historical roots, and its name evokes associations with Greek mythology, where Hermes played the role of mediator between gods and humans, ie. carried out the work of interpretation, translation, mutual understanding. There is a long-standing connection between hermeneutics and logic, rhetoric, and poetics, and this proved to be crucial for its further development as a science of interpretation in the Renaissance and Reformation era, when the problem of translating and understanding the old cultural heritage, be it the Bible or Roman law. During the confrontation of theological, legal and philological hermeneutics, their dependence on dogmatic prerequisites was revealed, and the attempted liberation led to the romantic project of the German philosopher and theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834).
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The turn from dogmatism to historical hermeneutics was carried out by the German philosopher and cultural historian Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911), who represented history as a big incomprehensible book to be deciphered and interpreted. At the same time, an important step forward can be considered the combination of hermeneutics with psychology and phenomenology, and although today survival or sympathy as the conditions for understanding the actions of the great people who lived in the past are no longer considered necessary for understanding, nevertheless, the connection between hermeneutic procedures and empathic empathy is unquestionable.
Along with positivism and critical rationalism, neo-Marxism and criticism of ideology, philosophical hermeneutics is one of the influential spiritual currents of our time. A huge role in this was played by the book of the German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002) "The Truth and the Method" (1960), which can be considered a classic textbook on hermeneutics. Gadamer did not conceal, but, on the contrary, carefully wrote down the origins of his theory of hermeneutics. He noted the important role of philosophical concepts of Hegel, W. Dilthey, F. Nietzsche, K. Jaspers and M. Heidegger. This circumstance is important to bear in mind, since the hermeneutics of Gadamer was a serious attempt to overcome the philosophical crisis of the era. In comparison with critical and analytical programs, his attempt seems more conservative, which caused rather sharp assessments of supporters of other approaches. Along with other paradigms - ontological, transcendental-reflexive, linguistic, critical, etc., it remains in the composition of philosophical methods and disciplines, remains as a local and regional practice of analyzing history. This circumstance was pointed out by one of the patriarchs of French hermeneutics, (1913-2005), who put forward the idea of complementarity of hermeneutics as studies of the progressive development of cultural meanings and psychoanalysis Reduction to the energy basis of culture (bearing in mind, besides Freud, Nietzsche and Marx as nonclassical thinkers who opposed the meaning of "energy" - the will to power, capital and libido).In an afterword to his book, Gadamer attempted to write the hermeneutic paradigm into a general process, which he described as a wave of technocratic hostility toward history, referring to the seemingly vague methods of the romantic philosophy of the humanities that relied on the art of comprehension: Philosophical hermeneutics includes the philosophical movement our century, overcoming a one-sided orientation toward the fact of science. "
On what are these universalist claims of hermeneutics based and how justified are they? The fact is that the phenomenon of understanding permeates all inter-human relations, including history, politics, the exchange of thoughts and experiences, moral deeds and aesthetic tastes. Hermeneutics is not confined to methodology or methodology, for it does not absolutize cognitive acts. On the contrary, it points out that the most important prerequisites of the natural and especially the humanities are based on certain life decisions and are related to the non-epistemic experience of experiencing guilt, responsibility, the desire for freedom and justice, feelings of faith and hope. Its main significance in modern technical culture is precisely that it points to the importance of this experience, which remains necessary, despite the fact that all human decisions seem to be based on facts and evidence, rather than on emotional emotions. Beliefs, beliefs, feelings and desires can not be proved, as the existence of God can not be proved, but this does not at all mean that they are all something fictitious, something completely powerless and unnecessary in the era of technical calculation. After all, today we are keenly aware that despite the fact that every minute of our life devoted to the Cause is registered on the whole, it is meaningless and is an example of a waste of money ... The fact that God does not exist in reality, that feelings and faith man in many respects are illusory, and before was not a big secret. But why about the "death of God"? and about the "death of a person" talked about in the last century? The answer to the surface: because the place of the divine and human occupied other figures. Having learned the truth, people have lost the ability to defend it bravely, and therefore it no longer makes them free. Gadamer's hermeneutics, along with cognitive experience, rehabilitates the experience of familiarizing with the truth and the experience of moral fulfillment, which in the past were one.
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In the Truth & Method Gadamer contrasted scientific experience, goal-oriented practice and technical thinking-these "locomotives" modern civilization - practical skills and habits of life, common sense, language, aesthetic taste, play, intelligence and education. As a matter of fact, the attitude toward planning and calculation, which was so successful in mechanics and economics, began to be considered natural and self-sufficient, free not only from various superstitions and prejudices, but also from values. Gadamer, on the one hand, sought to show the naivete and uncriticality of such an institution, hiding behind the facade of objectivity a multitude of undiscovered premises. On the other hand, he acted as a connoisseur and custodian of ancient forms of life and education. Rational theory of solutions, which claimed absolute truth, Gadamer contrasted the tradition of practical philosophy, preserved from Aristotle to Kant. He also pointed to the importance of good taste and education, the need for common sense and morality as conditions for the possibility of any human decisions - be it scientific, political, economic or personal problems.
Gadamer proceeds from a very broad definition of hermeneutics as an art of mutual understanding between people, social groups, parties and regions, including the relationship of the present and the past, taking into account the specificity of the types of rationality in different cultures. The process of understanding is, first and foremost, an event of the language and proceeds in the form of a conversation, a dialogue of people. Conversation - is not just a lot of monologues, among which the brightest and most convincing wins; it does not boil down to an elementary understanding of the thought of "Other": a general field arises in the conversation that expresses the essence of the matter.
Understanding hermeneutics, not as an interpretation, but as a vital-practical participation in history, Gadamer perceives from Heidegger. This task was solved by deepening the generally accepted notions about language, which was implemented, in particular, on the basis of interpreting the conversation as a kind of experience.
Experience gives something that can not be obtained purely theoretically, and therefore, in an effort to theorize experience, science distorts it. This fact was noted in the methodology of science, which tried to reveal the role of practical skills and personal knowledge and skills.
The experience that attempts to introduce hermeneutics is not only the skills of owning objects and using tools. This is primarily the own experience, ie. something that, thanks to which not only the object changes, but the person who assimilates it. The experience of becoming a person means meeting with a stranger, which must be recognized as independent and inalienable. In this meeting, the experience of self-awareness as a limitation is realized, but it also means openness: recognition of borders is connected with the possibility of meeting and negotiating. The highest type of hermeneutic experience is characterized by the openness of the "I" in relation to You & quot ;, i.e. willingness to hear the "Other". Thus, moral recognition is plastically introduced into the conversation, and understanding is a form of not only cognitive, but ethical action.
After the publication of Gadamer's book, wide discussions began, during which philosophical hermeneutics was qualified as a conservative attempt to revive historical traditions and even prejudices. Doubt aroused hopes for an open dialogue and a casual conversation - they are possible in the "open society" (it is no accident that the dialogue first took shape on the basis of polis democracy in Greece). What is guaranteed by Gadamer's belief that the unity of speaking and listening subjects is achieved by getting involved in the matter, rather than by violent means?
The situation was assessed ambiguously. The reference to beliefs and beliefs emerging in the course of the historical existence of people is considered to be an uncritical justification for long-standing norms and customs. In particular, critical rationalists believed that such beliefs should be subjected to analysis and evaluation by the scientific community. In their opinion, political, economic and other decisions should be made taking into account technical capabilities. However, such criticism itself is not free from objections: the prerequisites of rational solutions the interests of the people who receive them turn out to be. Skepticism in relation to the unreal reassessment of the mind in comparison with the emotional motives of the human soul, which Gadamer expressed, today seems to be quite justified half a century later. Pointing to the naive objectivism of the natural-scientific attitude, he uncovered a whole system of prerequisites, formed on the basis of historical experience and uncontrolled by scientific methods and criteria. Thus, he claimed reflexivity and critical analysis more than analytical philosophy or criticism of ideology. However, the revealed world of life and the traditions in it were declared certain natural-historical formations that were formed during the survival of people and therefore not subject to rational criticism. Thus Gadamer gave rise to reproaches in conservatism and dogmatism. For example, the German philosopher and sociologist Jürgen Habermas (born in 1929), in particular, criticized Gadamer's universalist claims and accused hermeneutics of being uncritical.
In understanding these disputes, we can conclude that the problem of the relationship between tradition and innovation remains one of the most important in our characteristic rapid and profound changes of time. It is obvious that the mechanism of innovation is not established by hermeneutics, because it is a too serious social and, above all, an economic matter that can not be given up by philology or philosophy. Pretenduya to manage this mechanism, the philosophy would claim absolute power. Meanwhile, its task is more modest: to draw public attention to the production and distribution of "symbolic capital" and organize discussions where politicians and scientists, philosophers and humanities, creative intelligentsia and the public could jointly develop strategic orientations for future development.
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