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Hermeneutics

Edited by Theodore George (Texas A&M University)
Assistant editor: Jennifer Gaffney (Texas A&M University)
About this topic
Summary

Hermeneutics concerns the study of understanding and interpretation. While this study includes consideration of the art, techniques, methods, and foundations of interpretative research in the humanities and related disciplines, philosophical inquiry into hermeneutics characteristically focuses on questions raised by the phenomena of understanding and interpretation in epistemology, the theory of meaning, the ontology of human beings, and the philosophy of language and history. Philosophical interest in hermeneutics may be traced back to ancient Greek and Judeo-Christian sources but the philosophical tradition of modern hermeneutics originates in the early nineteenth century. The principal figures associated with this modern tradition of hermeneutics are Friedrich Schleiermacher, Wilhelm Dilthey, Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Paul Ricoeur. The philosophical study of hermeneutics both draws from and is of consequence for several related areas of research, perhaps especially biblical hermeneutics, legal hermeneutics, the philosophy of medicine, and the philosophy of education.

Key works

Although philosophical study of hermeneutics has a history that reaches back to ancient Greek and Judeo-Christian sources, the major figures and works associated with modern hermeneutics date from the turn of the nineteenth century. Of nineteenth century sources, an introduction to the contributions of Friedrich Schleiermacher, often characterized as the principal proponent of Romantic hermeneutics, may be found in Hermeneutics and Criticism.  Main lines of Wilhelm Dilthey’s thought may be discerned from his first important theoretical work, Introduction to the Human Sciences. Heidegger’s radicalization of hermeneutics in the first part of the century is developed in an important 1923 lecture course, published as Ontology—the Hermeneutics of Facticity as well as in his masterwork Being and Time. The major work of Hans-Georg Gadamer, the name perhaps most associated with hermeneutics in our time, is Truth and Method. Indications of the some of the most important developments in Gadamer’s later thought may be found in The Gadamer Reader: A Bouquet of The Later Writings. Many of the main lines of Paul Ricoeur’s contributions to hermeneutics may be found in The Conflict of Interpretations: Essays in Hermeneutics. For a broader overview of figures and works associated with modern hermeneutics, see, for example, Kurt Mueller-Vollmer, ed., The Hermeneutics Reader: Texts from the German Tradition from the Enlightenment to the Present and Gayle L. Ormiston and Alan Schrift, eds., The Hermeneutic Tradition from Ast to Ricoeur. Finally, Jean Grondin's notable Introduction to Philosophical Hermeneutics includes an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources in ancient and modern hermeneutics.

Introductions Of the many good introductions to hermeneutics available in English, those highly recommended include, in alphabetical order by author:

Bruns, Gerald, Hermeneutics Ancient and Modern

Grondin, Jean, Introduction to Philosophical Hermeneutics

Ramberg, Bjorn and Gjesdal, Kristin, “Hermeneutics”.  

Palmer, Richard, Hermeneutics: Interpretive Theory in Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, and Gadamer

Schmidt, Lawrence, Understanding Hermeneutics.

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Subcategories:See also:History/traditions: Hermeneutics
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  1. Martin T. Adam (2002). The Problem of Prejudice: Some Notes on Philosophical Hermeneutics for Broad-Visioned Buddhologists. Contemporary Buddhism 3 (1):31-49.
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  2. R. Amel (2001). Review of “The Linguistic Turn in Hermeneutic Philosophy” by Cristina Lafont. [REVIEW] Pragmatics and Cognition 9 (2):349-354.
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  3. G. Douglas Atkins (1988). Radical Hermeneutics: Repetition, Deconstruction, and the Hermeneutic Project (Review). Philosophy and Literature 12 (2):313-314.
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  4. Stefano G. Azzara (2013). Hermeneutics," New Realism" and Transformation of Reality. An Unfinished Radicalization for Italian Philosophy. Rivista di Estetica 53 (2):197-234.
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  5. R. J. B. (1969). Hermeneutics. Review of Metaphysics 23 (1):136-136.
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  6. R. J. B. (1969). Hermeneutics. Review of Metaphysics 23 (1):136-136.
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  7. Johannes Balthasar (1980). Pedagogical Methods in the Humanities. An Introduction to Hermeneutics, Phenomenology and Dialectics. Philosophy and History 13 (2):132-133.
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  8. Charles Bambach (1997). The Hermeneutics of Origin: Arché and the Anarchic in John van Buren's the Young Heidegger. Philosophy Today 41 (2):313-324.
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  9. William A. Beardslee (1990). Process Thought on the Borders Between Hermeneutics and Theology. Process Studies 19 (4):230-234.
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  10. William A. Beardslee (1982). Recent Hermeneutics and Process Thought. Process Studies 12 (2):65-76.
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  11. Linda Belau (2002). Reading Otherwise: The Hermeneutics of Psychoanalysis (Trauma, Repetition, and the Signifier). Janus Head 5:5-1.
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  12. Rudolf Bernet (2009). The Hermeneutics of Perception in Cassirer, Heidegger, and Husserl. In Rudolf A. Makkreel & Sebastian Luft (eds.), Neo-Kantianism in Contemporary Philosophy. Indiana University Press.
  13. Richard J. Bernstein (2002). 12 The Constellation of Hermeneutics, Critical Theory and Deconstruction. In Robert J. Dostal (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Gadamer. Cambridge University Press. 267.
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  14. Richard J. Bernstein (1982). From Hermeneutics to Praxis. Review of Metaphysics 35 (4):823 - 845.
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  15. E. Betti (1987). On a General Theory of Interpretation: The Raison d'Etre of Hermeneutics. American Journal of Jurisprudence 32 (1):245-268.
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  16. Jeffery L. Bineham (1994). Displacing Descartes: Philosophical Hermeneutics and Rhetorical Studies. Philosophy and Rhetoric 27 (4):300 - 312.
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  17. David Blacker (forthcoming). Education as the Normative Dimension of Philosophical Hermeneutics. Philosophy of Education.
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  18. Lieven Boeve (2006). Negative Theology and Theological Hermeneutics: The Particularity of Naming God. Journal of Philosophy and Scripture 3 (2).
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  19. Patrick L. Bourgeois & Frank Schalow (1987). Hermeneutics of Existence. Philosophy Today 31 (1):45-53.
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  20. Patrick Lyall Bourgeois (1985). Critical Hermeneutics. Review of Metaphysics 38 (4):912-913.
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  21. Denis Jm Bradley (2007). Reading Aquinas as a Theologian: The Hermeneutics of Some Medievalists Old and New. Dionysius 25:177-224.
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  22. James Bradley (2009). Beyond Hermeneutics: Peirce's Semiology as a Trinitarian Metaphysics of Communication. Analecta Hermeneutica 1 (1):56-72.
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  23. Melody Briggs (2009). The Bible and Lay People: An Empirical Approach to Ordinary Hermeneutics. By Andrew Village. Heythrop Journal 50 (1):179-179.
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  24. Richard Briggs (2009). Religion and the Hermeneutics of Contemplation. By D. Z. Phillips. Heythrop Journal 50 (1):173-173.
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  25. Walter Brogan (2014). James Risser's Contemporary Hermeneutics. Philosophy Today 58 (1):97-105.
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  26. Gerald L. Bruns (1995). Book Review: Ancient and Modern Hermeneutics. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Literature 19 (1).
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  27. Rüdiger Bubner (1975). Responses to 'Hermeneutics and Social Science'. Philosophy and Social Criticism 2 (4):327-327.
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  28. Hanna Buczynska-Garewicz (1985). "Peirce's Semiotics and Heidegger's Hermeneutics. Semiotics:467-478.
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  29. Eloise A. Buker (1991). Can Feminism Politicize Hermeneutics and Reconstruct Deconstruction? Social Epistemology 5 (4):361 – 369.
  30. Thomas W. Busch (1991). The Hermeneutics of Post-Modernity: Figures and Themes. By G. B. Madison. Modern Schoolman 68 (4):346-347.
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  31. Claudio C. Calabrese (2013). Simone Marchesi. Dante and Augustine: Linguistics, Poetics, Hermeneutics. Escritos 21 (46):275-277.
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  32. Michael A. Calabrese (1995). Book Review: Rhetoric, Hermeneutics, and Translation in the Middle Ages. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Literature 19 (2):413-415.
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  33. Paul A. Cantor (1991). Leo Strauss and Contemporary Hermeneutics. In Alan Udoff (ed.), Leo Strauss's Thought: Toward a Critical Engagement. L. Rienner Publishers. 270.
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  34. John D. Caputo (1988). Radical Hermeneutics: Repetition, Deconstruction, and the Hermeneutic Project. Indiana University Press.
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  35. John D. Caputo (1986). Telling Left From Right: Hermeneutics, Deconstruction, and the Work of Art. Journal of Philosophy 83 (11):678-685.
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  36. Matthieu Casalis (1978). “Hermeneutics,”“Death of God” and “Dissolution of the Subject”: A Phenomenological Appraisal. In Ronald Bruzina & Bruce W. Wilshire (eds.), Crosscurrents in Phenomenology. Martinus Nijhoff. 262--275.
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  37. J. Cerny (1978). Contemporary Bourgeois Hermeneutics and Methodological Problems of Historical and Social-Sciences. Filosoficky Casopis 26 (6):851-863.
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  38. Daniel Charles (1988). Heidegger on Hermeneutics and Music Today. In Veikko Rantala, Lewis Eugene Rowell & Eero Tarasti (eds.), Essays on the Philosophy of Music. Distributed by Akateeminen Kirjakauppa. 43--154.
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  39. J. Cibulka (1994). The Hermeneutics of the Emerging of Being (on Figal Interpretation of Heidegger). Filosoficky Casopis 42 (4):583-597.
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  40. J. Cibulka (1992). The Conception of Hermeneutics of Facticity in the Early Heidegger Works. Filosoficky Casopis 40 (2):207-228.
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  41. Richard Cobb-Stevens (1982). Hermeneutics Without Relativism: Husserl's Theory of Mind. Research in Phenomenology 12 (1):127-148.
  42. George Connell (2004). Soren Kierkegaard and the Word(S): Essays on Hermeneutics and Communication (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (4):502-503.
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  43. George Connell (1993). Pierre Klossowski's Sade My Neighbor and the Hermeneutics of Suspicion. Faith and Philosophy 10 (4):553-566.
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  44. Jeremiah Conway (2007). Heidegger on the Hermeneutics of Ultimate Statements. In B. K. Dalai (ed.), Ultimate Reality and Meaning. Centre of Advanced Study in Sanskrit, University of Pune. 30--2.
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  45. Rita Copeland (1995). Book Review: Rhetoric, Hermeneutics, and Translation in the Middle Ages. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Literature 19 (2).
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  46. Robert S. Corrington (1982). Horizonal Hermeneutics and the Actual Infinite. Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 8 (1/2):36-97.
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  47. Fernand Couturier (1982). Josef Bleicher, Contemporary Hermeneutics Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 2 (2/3):65-67.
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  48. Dr Luca D'Isanto (1994). Gianni Vattimo's Hermeneutics and the Trace of Divinity. Modern Theology 10 (4):361-381.
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  49. Espen Dahl (2007). Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, and Revelation. Neue Zeitschrift Für Systematische Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 48 (4):479-496.
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  50. I. Darmann (2005). The Stranger in Opposition Against Understanding Or: Hermeneutics and Ethnology on the Test Stand of Renewed Critique. Philosophische Rundschau 52 (1):21 - 39.
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