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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. Roberto Alejandro (1993). Hermeneutics, Citizenship, and the Public Sphere. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  2. Juan José Alfaro (1980). Escatología, hermeneútica y lenguaje. Salmanticensis 27 (2):233-246.
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  3. Marcos Alexandre Alves (2012). Interpretação e compreensão: da hermenêutica metodológica à experiência hermenêutica como crítica e fundamento do saber filosófico. Princípios 18 (30):181-198.
    Normal 0 21 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 O presente artigo analisa a passagem da hermenêutica metodológica à experiência hermenêutica como crítica e fundamento do saber filosófico. Inicialmente, apresenta a crítica da hermenêutica à absolutizaçáo da lógica matemática como estrutura da pesquisa e produçáo de sentido na filosofia. A lógica matemática sedimenta a dinâmica da vida do homem por náo estar aberta às contingências da existência, porém a vida do homem náo se compreende sob a forma da lógica matemática. Posteriormente, demonstra (...)
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  4. Maria Nazaré de Camargo Pacheco Amaral (2012). Dilthey: The Hermeneutics of Life and the Universal Aspirations of Pedagogy. Trans/Form/Ação 35 (1):89-114.
    Dilthey claimed that first psychology and then hermeneutics played the foundational role for his philosophy of life, whose main practical goal is to develop a pedagogy or theory of education. Pedagogy needs help from ethics to establish its ends, and from psychology to indicate its means. This paper intends to show the relationship between Dilthey's hermeneutics of life and his pedagogy. Dilthey's philosophy of life, in so far it adopts the hermeneutical procedure, engages in the understanding of, or the search (...)
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  5. Ciro Schmidt Andrade (2011). La Hermenéutica analógica. Analogía Filosófica: Revista de Filosofía, Investigación y Difusión 28 (28):55-70.
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  6. Emil Angehrn & Bernard Baertschi (1998). Interpretation Und Wahrheit.
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  7. Jaime Rubio Angulo (1985). Perspectiva Hermeneutica. El Trabajo Del Símbolo. Universitas Philosophica 5:37-56.
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  8. Keith Ansell-Pearson (1992). My Sister and I; Nietzsche and the Origin of Virtue; Nietzsche and the Question of Interpretation. Between Hermeneutics and Deconstruction; Within Nietzsche’s Labyrinth. [REVIEW] Radical Philosophy 60.
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  9. Karl-Otto Apel (1979). The Common Presuppositions of Hermeneutics and Ethics: Types of Rationality Beyond Science and Technology. Research in Phenomenology 9 (1):35-53.
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  10. Karl-Otto Apel (1971). Theorie-Diskussion Hermeneutik Und Ideologiekritik. Suhrkamp.
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  11. Thiago Aquino (2012). Tradição histórica e reflexão crítica: notas sobre o debate entre Habermas e Gadamer. Veritas 57 (3):53-73.
    The intention of this article is to reconstruct the debate between Hans-Georg Gadamer and Jürgen Habermas which occurred between the end of the 1960s and the start of the 1970s. In order to observe this period the later developments of these thinkers won’t be taken into account. The article plans to examine the central problematic of the debate related to the difficult relationship between historic tradition and critical reflection. The tension between these two terms will be used as a reference (...)
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  12. Roberto E. Aras (2004). Miseria y esplendor de la interpretación. En torno a los límites de la hermenéutica en Pieper y en Ortega / The Misery and Splendor of Interpretation: About the Limits of Hermeneutics in Pieper and Ortega. Sapientia 59 (216):297-305.
  13. Vilhjalmur Arnason (1982). The Context of Morality and the Question of Ethics: From Naive Existentialism to Suspicious Hermeneutics. Dissertation, Purdue University
    This study attempts to situate ethical discourse within descriptions of a moral context which do justice both to concrete individual moral experiences and to the socio-historical framework within which they are lived. In light of these descriptions it is argued that an adequate theory of morality must focus on the essential continuity between the individual moral life and the communal practices and institutions which constitute our ethical substance. ;In Chapter One it is shown how the existentialist liberation of the moral (...)
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  14. Jorge Nicolás Vicente Arregui (1988). Metafísica Del Yo y Hermenéutica Diltheyana de la Vida. Anuario Filosófico 21 (1):97-122.
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  15. Samuel Arriarán & Elizabeth Hernández Alvídrez (eds.) (2006). Ensayos Sobre Hermenéutica Analógico-Barroca. Editorial Torres Asociados.
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  16. John Arthos (2014). What Is Φρόνησις? Philosophy Today 58 (1):53-66.
    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 (...)
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  17. G. Douglas Atkins (1988). Radical Hermeneutics: Repetition, Deconstruction, and the Hermeneutic Project (Review). Philosophy and Literature 12 (2):313-314.
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  18. Pierre Aubenque, Tom Krell & Ian Alexander Moore (2013). The Relationship Between Hermeneutics and Ontology in the Case of Aristotle's ΠΕΡΙ ΕΡΜΗΝΕΙΑΣ. Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 34 (1):3-20.
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  19. Sylvie Avakian (2015). Undecidability’ or ‘Anticipatory Resoluteness’ Caputo in Conversation with Heidegger. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 77 (2):123-139.
    In this article I will consider John D. Caputo’s ‘radical hermeneutics’, with ‘undecidability’ as its major theme, in conversation with Martin Heidegger’s notion of ‘anticipatory resoluteness’. Through an examination of the positions of Caputo and Heidegger I argue that Heidegger’s notion of ‘anticipatory resoluteness’ reaches far beyond the claims of ‘radical hermeneutics’, and that it assumes a reconstructive process which carries within its scope the overtones of deconstruction, the experience of repetition and authenticity and also the implications of Gelassenheit. Further, (...)
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  20. A. J. Ayer, J. O'Grady, Blackwell Oxford, J. Bacon, K. Campbell & L. Reinhardt (1994). Alejandro, R., Hermeneutics, Citizenship, and the Public Sphere, Albany, State University of New York Press, 1993, Ix, 291, US $17.95 (Cloth). Alston, WP, The Reliability of Sense Perception, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1993, X, 148, US $27.50 (Cloth). [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (1).
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  21. Carlos B. Gutiérrez (2000). Ética y hermenéutica. Natureza Humana 2 (2):249-272.
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  22. Ulrich Baer (1996). Landscape and Memory in the Work of Paul Celan. Semiotics:111-123.
  23. Ulrich Baer (1996). Landscape and Memory in the Work of Paul Celan. Semiotics:111-123.
  24. B. Baertschi (1994). Sean E. MCEVENUE, Ben F. MEYERS , "Lonergan's Hermeneutics". [REVIEW] Revue de Théologie Et de Philosophie 126:286.
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  25. O. Balaban (1989). The Hermeneutics of the Young Marx: According To Marx's Approach To the Philosophy of Democritus and Epicurus. Diogenes 37 (148):28-41.
    In the History of Philosophy, the atomistic physics of Epicurus and of Democritus have been considered as very similar.1 Con trary to the more conventional view, Marx considers this similarity.
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  26. Joe Balay (2013). The Convalescence of Language: James Risser. The Life of Understanding: A Contemporary Hermeneutics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012. Viii+ 142 Pp. Bibliography and Index. [REVIEW] Research in Phenomenology 43 (2):267-273.
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  27. Charles R. Bambach (1998). Wilhelm Dilthey, Selected Works, Volume IV: Hermeneutics and the Study of History (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 36 (4):641-642.
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  28. Paula Banerjee & Samir Kumar Das (eds.) (2007/2008). Autonomy: Beyond Kant and Hermeneutics. Anthem Press.
    would suspect him of murdering them and would not spare him. So he too killed himself. Gods were very much disturbed by this sad incident and realized the ...
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  29. F. Barison & S. Del Monaco Carucci (1996). Hermeneutics and Heideggerian Ontology in Psychiatry: The Life-Struggle for the Light of the Spirit. Analecta Husserliana 48:343-348.
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  30. L. Batnitzky (1999). The Philosophical Import of Carnal Israel: Hermeneutics and the Structure of Franz Rosenzweig's' Star of Redemption'. Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 9 (1):127-153.
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  31. Leora Batnitzky (2000). The Philosophical Import of Carnal Israel: Hermeneutics and the Structure of Rosenzweig's Star. Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 9 (1):127-153.
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  32. C. D. Battershill (1986). Book Reviews : Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. By Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow. Brighton: Harvester Press, 1982. Pp. XXII + 231. 18.95. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 16 (3):394-397.
  33. Kenneth Baynes (2007). Special Section: Lorenzo Simpson's the Unfinished Project : The Hermeneutics of `Situated Cosmopolitanism'. Philosophy and Social Criticism 33 (3):301-308.
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  34. Kenneth Baynes (1989). Rational Reconstruction and Social Criticism: Habermas's Model of Interpretive Social Science in Hermeneutics in Ethics and Social Theory. Philosophical Forum 21 (1-2):122-145.
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  35. Mauricio Bechot (2003). Estética y hermenéutica analógica. Ciencia Tomista 130 (422):565-575.
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  36. James Beebe (1998). Walter Jost and Michael J. Hyde, Eds., Rhetoric and Hermeneutics in Our Time. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 18:271-273.
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  37. Elizabeth Belfiore (2003). Tragédie, thumos, et plaisir esthétique. Les Etudes Philosophiques 4 (4):451-465.
    Résumé — Dans cet article, je montre que l’une des fonctions de la tragédie est de procurer un entraînement au thumos , en l’habituant à devenir amical plutôt qu’agressif envers les philoi . Je donne d’abord un bref aperçu des thèses sur le thumos exposées dans les œuvres éthiques et politiques d’Aristote. Ensuite, j’étudie la relation entre le thumos et les actes de violence entre proches, qui constituent le sujet de la tragédie, en montrant comment la pitié et la crainte (...)
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  38. Krystyna Bembennek (2012). Hermeneutyczne wyznaczniki ujmowania historii filozofii. Filo-Sofija 12 (2 (17)):183-193.
    HERMENEUTIC INDICATORS OF PRESENTING THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY The aim of the article is to discuss Hans-Georg Gadamer’s and Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutic way of understanding the history of philosophy. I assume that hermeneutic reference to philosophical past appears as a unique dialogue with tradition, whereas their way of understanding the history of philosophy might be defined as “hermeneutic interpretation of tradition.” In order to show what its indicators are, I characterize the conception of hermeneutic experience (H.-G. Gadamer) as well as (...)
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  39. Seyla Benhabib (1989). In the Shadow of Aristotle and Hegel: Communicative Ethics and Current Controversies in Practical Philosophy in Hermeneutics in Ethics and Social Theory. Philosophical Forum 21 (1-2):1-31.
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  40. Seyla Benhabib (1982). The Development of Marx's Thought and the Hermeneutics of Critique Comments on George Markus' "Four Forms of Critical Theory — Some Theses on Marx's Development". Thesis Eleven 5 (1):289-297.
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  41. Andrew Benjamin, Hermeneutics and Judaic Thought.
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  42. Silvia Benso & Brian Schroeder (eds.) (2010). Between Nihilism and Politics: The Hermeneutics of Gianni Vattimo. State University of New York Press.
    Essays describe Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo’s unique and radical hermeneutic philosophy.
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  43. Robert Bernasconi (1980). "The Critical Circle. Literature and History in Contemporary Hermeneutics": David Couzens Hoy. [REVIEW] British Journal of Aesthetics 20 (1):90.
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  44. Emilio Betti (2010). Úvod do rekonstruktivní hermeneutiky. Studia Neoaristotelica 7 (2):211-216.
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  45. M. Beuchot (1997). La hermenéutica en San Agustín y en la actualidad. Revista Agustiniana 38 (115-16):139-156.
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  46. Mauricio Beuchot (ed.) (2006). Contextos de la Hermenéutica Analógica. Editorial Torres Asociados.
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  47. Mauricio Beuchot (2006). Phrónesis, hermenéutica y símbolo. Ciencia Tomista 133 (429):5.
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  48. Mauricio Beuchot (2005). Hermenéutica Analógica y Filosofía Latinoamericana. Editorial Buho.
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  49. Mauricio Beuchot (2005). La hermenéutica. Diálogo Filosófico 61:4-28.
    Este artículo intenta presentar un panorama de la hermenéutica reciente, haciendo énfasis en Gadamer, Ricoeur y Vattimo. Se trata de hacer ver que la hermenéutica actual se ha debatido entre dos fuerzas que la tensionan: una hacia el univocismo y otra, que es la más fuerte en nuestro tiempo, hacia el equivocismo o relativismo. Por eso al final se propone una búsqueda de equilibrio.
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  50. Mauricio Beuchot (2004). Hermenéutica y política. Estudios Filosóficos 53 (153):249-258.
    En este artículo se pretende aplicar la hermenéutica a la filosofía política. Se trata de una hermenéutica analógica, esto es, centrada en la analogía, para superar el univocismo (absolutismo) y el equivocismo (relativismo). La filosofía política resultante toma muy en cuenta la phrónesis o prudencia, que la embona con la ética; además, toma muy en cuenta la justicia distributiva, que es altamente analógica; y está abierta a la utopía. Trata de servir de mediación en la discusión entre el liberalismo y (...)
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