In Gadamer’s hermeneutics, interpretation is inseparable from the broader concern of making one’s way in life. In this book, James Risser builds on this insight about the juxtaposition of human living and the act of understanding by tracing hermeneutics back to the basic experience of philosophy as defined by Plato. For Risser, Plato provides resources for new directions in hermeneutics and new possibilities for "the life of understanding" and "the understanding of life." Risser places Gadamer in dialogue with Plato, with (...) the issue of memory as a conceptual focus. He develops themes pertaining to hermeneutics such as retrieval as a matter of convalescence, exile as a venture into the foreign, formation with respect to oneself and to life with others, the experience of language in hermeneutics, and the relationship between speaking and writing. (shrink)
This paper explores the place of Hegel in Gadamer's hermeneutics through an analysis of the idea of "infinite dialogue." It is argued that infinite dialogue cannot be understood as a limited Hegelianism, i.e., as the life of spirit in language that does not reach its end. Rather, infinite dialogue can be understood only by taking the Heideggerian idea of radical finitude seriously. Thus, while infinite dialogue has a speculative element, it remains a dialogue conditioned by the occlusion in temporal becoming. (...) This idea is developed further by contrasting Gadamer's position with that of Blanchot, who also stands under the shadow of Hegel. (shrink)
The traditional reading of Plato’s criticism of the poets and painters in Book 10 of the Republic is that they merely imitate. In light of Plato’s own image-making, the critique of imitation requires a more careful examination, especially in regards to painting. This paper argues that it is insufficient to view Plato’s critique of image-making by the painter solely in terms of the image replication that does not consider the eidos. In view of the context of Plato’s argument within Book (...) 10 and elsewhere, other considerations, such as the ideas of measure and proportion, which pertain to the notion of the beautiful, are required for a complete understanding of the argument against the painter. In light of these further considerations I argue for a threefold distinction between mimesis as replication, mimesis as false resemblance, and mimesis as true resemblance. With respect to the third kind of mimesis, which directly pertains to Plato’s own image-making, one can see in Plato a different configuration of the relation between image and original portrayed in the image. (shrink)
American Continental Philosophy is the first anthology to gather a representative selection of the most important and original thinkers from the continental tradition in the U.S. The essays reflect the diverse directions and methodologies that have emerged from this influential field. This state-of-the-art sampler showcases the richness and scope of American continental philosophy and will be of value to the entire philosophical community.
The issue of language and alterity is a central concern in the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans‐Georg Gadamer. The key to the issue of language and alterity is to see exactly how language exists. In his discussion of language in Truth and Method and elsewhere, Gadamer is quick to point out that an instrumental view of language in which meaning functions in relation to a system of signs does not capture the way in which language actually exists. The linguisticality of understanding (...) that issues in communication means for Gadamer that through language there is the opening of shared life in which one is able to hear the voice of the other. While Gadamer refuses to characterize dialogical conversation in terms of intersubjectivity, he does employ a rich account of the interplay in dialogue in the language of an I‐thou relation. (shrink)
This volume of essays on the philosopher John Sallis assesses his wide ranging and genuinely original contribution to philosophy. Along with the response to the essays by Sallis, these essays indicate directions for the future of philosophy.
This paper explores the way in which the art of weaving, as it is initially presented in Plato’s Statesman, serves to configure both the fundamental character ofdiscourse and the limit experience of discourse for Plato. The problem that arises in relation to this configuration pertains to the possible unity of discourse (and with it the acquisition of knowledge). In relation to the hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer and his reading of Plato, it is argued that the unity of discourse follows “the (...) arithmos structure of the logos” with its distinctive dialectical character. It is concluded that this character expresses the finitude of knowing in which oppositions remain in tension. (shrink)
In understanding the world through language, silence, regarded simply as the absence of speech, appears to be the enemy of understanding. But in fact, it can be shown that silence is always a function of language. As we learn from Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, and others, the relation between silence and the word of language is a positive one. There are acts of silence that can generate the movement towards meaning in language. The focus of my remarks in this paper will explore (...) three modalities of silence that characterize the positive relation between silence and the word of language. First, there is silence as the withdrawal of the word. This is the silence of the voice that wants to hold back from speaking and to hold back the word from falling into chatter. Second, there is silence as giving voice to words. This is the silence that enacts the spacing within language that possibilizes the intentions of meaning within speech and the efforts of communicative understanding. Third, there is silence as the beginning of the word. This is the silence that stands in relation to a hidden or absent origin, such as an unknown god, generating thereby a word from silence that is a beginning. (shrink)
This paper attempts to define Dennis J. Schmidt’s distinctive contribution to philosophy and to contemporary hermeneutics in particular under the heading of an ethical hermeneutics. The idea of an ethical hermeneutics is considered in relation to four aspects: 1) the element of practice as the constitutive element of ethical hermeneutics; 2) the force of practice: finitude; 3) the idiom as the place of finitude; 4) ethical hermeneutics and the domain of the common. The fourth aspect constitutes the critical engagement with (...) the idea of an ethical hermeneutics, arguing that the notion of the common, which is underdeveloped in Schmidt’s writings, serves as a practical “concept” that takes the place of the theoretical concept in an ethical hermeneutics. (shrink)
In June 2019, Dr. James Risser was the invited scholar for the Canadian Hermeneutic Institute, held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Dr. Risser is a professor of philosophy at Seattle University and the Senior Research Fellow at Western Sydney University. He is also the editor of the journal Research in Phenomenology. He has held philosophy Chairs and is a prolific writer of books and articles in the areas of continental philosophy and philosophical hermeneutics. This paper is the introduction to the three-day (...) event of the CHI, and his beginning introduction to his papers. It is followed by three papers entitled When Words Fail: On the Power of Language and Human Experience; Speaking from Silence: On the Intimate Relation Between Silence and Speaking; and Hearing the Other: Communication as Shared Life. (shrink)
Beyond the ordinariness of experience in daily life there are times when we encounter an experience for which words seem inadequate to express and communicate the experience. The focus of my remarks for the first paper will explore this situation of the potential limits of language for understanding experience. The question of these limits depends on an analysis of just what takes place in experience and language. Drawing on Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutic theory for an answer to the question, I will (...) show just how experience and language are interrelated, and, as a result, I will show how the dynamic of language formation expands to accommodate what appears to be inaccessible and inexpressible, while allowing experience to sustain its own richness. (shrink)
This paper assesses the philosophical project of Charles Scott, beginning with his first book, Boundaries in Mind, and including his most recent work on “Bordered Americans.” The interpretive focus for the assessment concentrates on what Scott early on characterizes as boundary awareness: the appearing of difference in appearance. In this context, it is argued that what is fundamentally at issue in Scott’s philosophy is a sense of freedom other than that which is associated with subjectivity and its presumed autonomy.
This book is a focused study of the specific problem in aesthetics of literature's relation to truth. The authors's treatment of the problem is both expansive and highly nuanced, undoubtedly a result not only of the co-authoring of the book, which by all indications is a true collaborative effort, but also of the fact that the book is the product of a decade of work on the problem. The division of labor for the book, though, is obvious in the treatment (...) of different aspects of the problem. Lamarque is principally responsible for the first two parts of the book, while Olson takes primary responsibility for part three, "Literature and Truth.". (shrink)
In the phenomenological tradition, which took root in the first part of the twentieth century, the issue of intersubjectivity became prominent as a way of characterizing social life. But as seen in the work of Edith Stein, for example, this philosophy of intersubjectivity gives prominence to the subject, and as such it leaves open not only the question of the basic character of social life, but also the hermeneutic problem of understanding the other. The focus of my remarks in this (...) paper will explore the way in which Gadamer moves beyond a philosophy of subjectivity in his effort to establish the conditions for communicative understanding. For Gadamer, communicative understanding only occurs through a genuine way of being with another. It requires not just being in relation to the other but a form of participation that amounts to an idea of shared life. Gadamer establishes the precise character of this shared life in relation to his critical encounter with Karl Löwith’s version of the I-Thou relation. (shrink)