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The Hermeneutical and Philosophy

Günter Figal, Theodore D. George

Publication Year: 2010

Appearing for the first time in English, Günter Figal’s groundbreaking book in the tradition of philosophical hermeneutics offers original perspectives on perennial philosophical problems. Günter Figal has long been recognized as one of the most insightful interpreters working in the tradition of philosophical hermeneutics and its leading themes concerned with ancient Greek thought, art, language, and history. With this book, Figal presses this tradition of philosophical hermeneutics in new directions. In his effort to forge philosophical hermeneutics into a hermeneutical philosophy, Figal develops an original critique of the objectification of the world that emerges in modernity as the first stage in his systematic treatment of the elements of experience hermeneutically understood. Breaking through the prejudices of modernity, but not sacrificing the importance and challenge of the objective world that confronts us and is in need of interpretation, Figal reorients how it is that philosophy should take up some of its most longstanding and stubborn questions. World, object, space, language, freedom, time, and life are refreshed as philosophical notions here since they are each regarded as elements of human life engaged in the task assigned to each of us—the task of understanding ourselves and our world.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title and Copyright Pages

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix

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Translator’s Introduction

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pp. xi-xxvi

One of Günter Figal’s broadest concerns in Objectivity is to demonstrate that the philosophical endeavor itself is oriented by hermeneutical matters: philosophy, in its character, possibilities, and limits, is animated by the tasks of interpretation and understanding. Figal’s designation for philosophy so conceived—“hermeneutical philosophy”—intends not to specify one form of phi-...

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pp. xxvii-xxviii

This book has a rather long history. First outlines, which may be discerned in the contours of what is worked out here, reach back more than twenty years. In its present form, the material of the book has emerged in three years, from 2002 to 2005. In this time, I was able to test some of my thoughts in shorter pieces before they found their reconsidered formulation here. ...

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pp. 1-4

One is well acquainted with hermeneutics also from the viewpoint of philosophy. Every introduction to the subject1 outlines with more or less precision how the so-called art of interpretation has developed into a philosophical approach since the seventeenth century.2 There also is no doubt as to which names are crucial here. ...

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Chapter 1: From Philosophical Hermeneutics to Hermeneutical Philosophy

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pp. 5-47

The formulation of the question of philosophical hermeneutics may be understood from its historical context. It arises from the nineteenth century and achieves its particular profile with the development of the human sciences. Of course, hermeneutical questions, that is, those concerned with understanding and interpretation, may already be found earlier. ...

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Chapter 2: Interpretation

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pp. 49-120

Interpretation is mediation, the interpres is the negotiator, the translator. He brings the standpoint of one home to another, and so also confirms that the standpoints are different; he formulates something that was said by one so that it is intelligible for another. Yet, there is not always a need of the third; often enough one takes on the third’s task oneself. ...

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Chapter 3: The World as Hermeneutical Space

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pp. 121-153

Interpretation, understanding, and objectivity belong together. Only what is objective has to be interpreted; it is disclosed as what it is through interpretation alone, because only presentative recognizing preserves the exteriority of its matter. It reckons with it and gives it prominence; its difference from other forms of access, which are directed toward an object, lies in this. ...

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Chapter 4: Freedom

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pp. 155-189

One does and does not know what freedom is. At some point, one experienced something one perhaps only later learned to bear the name “freedom.” The designation, however, also appears in other contexts. One then asks oneself whether the matter at issue is the same or at least something comparable. ...

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Chapter 5: Language

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pp. 191-251

Language is more than intimate, it is there even in silence. If language is there, a life without language can no longer be imagined. One knows that animals do not speak, though no one who speaks any longer understands how it is to be without language. Nevertheless, language never quite attains complete familiarity. ...

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Chapter 6: Time

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pp. 253-298

Time is ubiquitous, and for this reason it barely can be grasped. It is not even unlocked by the attempt to measure it, for this attempt presupposes an understanding of time. Otherwise, the glance at the clock would be at sticks that senselessly rotate and move along numbers or markings. ...

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Chapter 7: Life

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pp. 299-348

We are three-dimensional; in all conduct and experience, in everything we do and what affects us we are freedom, language, and time. Insofar as a deliberation is at play in action, it has to do with language, and the enactment of action is at the same time a course of time. Speech can belong together with action. In the play of positions one also shows oneself to be someone who does or...


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pp. 349-402


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pp. 403-419

Index of Names

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pp. 421-424

Index of Subjects

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pp. 425-439

Index of Greek Terms [Includes Back Cover]

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pp. 441-442

E-ISBN-13: 9781438432076
E-ISBN-10: 1438432070
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438432052
Print-ISBN-10: 1438432054

Page Count: 470
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1