A hermeneutics of exploration: The interpretive turn from binswanger to gadamer

Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 30 (2):79 (2010)
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Abstract

The interpretive turn in psychology is strongly indebted to the hermeneutic philosophies of Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer. What is less known is the degree to which the interpretive turn is already initiated in the 1920s by the Swiss psychiatrist, Ludwig Binswanger . For Binswanger, the objective of psychology and psychopathology is to understand how the person exists and relates to others in the world—and this can only be achieved through a situated understanding of the person in his or her life-world. Binswanger is one of the first to recognize and work out the contributions of Husserl's and Heidegger's philosophies for psychology. Using an approach that combines elements from phenomenology, hermeneutics and dialogical philosophy, Binswanger views the person not as an object, but as fundamentally immersed in a world of human relating. Yet Binswanger is not a Heideggerian, and does not identify his work as existential. Instead, he develops a dialogical perspective on human experience that parallels important aspects of Gadamer's hermeneutics. Drawing chiefly on untranslated texts, I maintain that Binswanger's hermeneutics of exploration forms an important, if relatively unknown chapter of the interpretive turn in psychology. 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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