Scheilemacher’s Hermeneutics to Gadamer

18 Jun

The revival of hermeneutics, it was confined to ancient classical culture as a strand of classical philosophy, made by Schleiermacher (1768-1834).

For Heidegger, hermeneutics is equivalent to the phenomenology of existence, that is, things that are open to interpretation, must be analyzed according to the possibilities of existing and manifesting in their historical time, but their understanding of history is different from Dilthey.

His work finds its first echo in Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911), which separates the idea of ​​interpretation in two fields: explanation of the natural sciences and understanding in the human sciences.

Paul Ricoeur (1913-2005) and Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002) will overcome this dichotomy by creating a philosophical hermeneutics, for Ricoeur to understand a text is to chain a new discourse into the text’s discourse, so the text must be open, that is , subject to the appropriation of a sense.

On the other hand, reflection, for Ricoeur, is meditation on the present signs, so there is no explanation without understanding the world and yourself.

Hans-Georg Gadamer sees in Dilthey’s historical conception a certain idealism, and his hermeneutics like that of Ricoeur, which are philosophical, however he sees it in a circular structure where there is always a pre-understanding, where a fusion of horizons is possible which it will allow a reinterpretation and a new formulation of understanding.

In the hermeneutic circle, inspired by Heidegger, it was thought that “Every interpretation, to produce understanding, must have already understood what it is going to interpret”, but it was Gadamer that systematized it.

In Gadamer the idea of ​​the horizon is: the singular content is apprehended from the totality of a context of meaning, which is pre-apprehended and co-apprehended, where there is a dialogue understood as: Understanding is always apprehension of the stranger and is open the modification of the initial assumptions given the difference produced by the other (the text, the interlocutor).

Understanding the context in the sense of traditions, culture, ethnicities and beliefs are fundamental to understanding how the hermeneutic circle happens.

The experience takes place according to the dialogical exchange within a language and it is always productive, not just reproductive: “the meaning of a text surpasses its author, not occasionally but always”, so the philosophical hermeneutics sees it as present in cultures and languages.

The result of this circle is the production of practical knowledge using a Greek word phronesis (there is no theory x practice) which is not a private but social knowledge, where it minimizes and exacerbates the self-creation of the self and in the social sphere the creation of dogmas removing ethics from its social aestheticization, and preserving the practical wisdom of cultures and beliefs that operate in the processes respecting diversity.

GADAMER, H.G. (1989) Truth and Method, 2nd edn, Sheed and Ward.





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