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Hermeneutics: Hermeneutics is the theory and practice of interpretation, especially the interpretation of texts. Hermeneutics is concerned with the question of how we understand meaning. It is based on the idea that meaning is not fixed or objective, but rather is created through a process of interpretation. This means that the interpreter's own background and experiences will play a role in shaping their understanding of the text. See also Interpretation, Texts, Hermeneutc circle.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Hans-Georg Gadamer on Hermeneutics - Dictionary of Arguments

I 169
Hermeneutics/Gadamer: Hermeneutics should (...) be understood so comprehensively that it would include the whole sphere of art and its questions. Like any other text to be understood, any work of art must not only
I 170
understand the literary. Thus the hermeneutic consciousness acquires a comprehensive breadth that even surpasses that of the aesthetic consciousness. Aesthetics must merge into hermeneutics.
Cf. >Aesthetic Consciousness
The task today could be to escape the dominating influence of Dilthey's question and the prejudices of the "history of ideas" founded by him.
I 171
(...) art [is] never only past (...), but [it] knows how to overcome the distance between times through its own presence of meaning. In this respect, the example of art shows an excellent case of understanding on both sides. It is not merely an object of historical consciousness, but its understanding nevertheless already includes historical mediation. How then is the task of hermeneutics determined?
>Hermeneutics/Schleiermacher, >Hermeneutics/Hegel.
I 177
Hermeneutics/Gadamer: The art doctrine of understanding and interpretation was developed in two ways, the theological and the philological, from an analogous drive: theological hermeneutics, as Dilthey showed(1), from the self-defense of the Reformation's understanding of the Bible against the attack of the Tridentine theologians and their appeal to the indispensability of tradition to rediscover philological hermeneutics as an instrument for the humanist claim to the
I 178
classical literature.
Biblical Hermeneutics: its precondition is the scriptural principle of the Reformation.
I 280
Hermeneutics/Gadamer: The fundamental discrediting of all the prejudices that the experiential pathos of the new natural science connects with the Enlightenment becomes universal and radical in the historical Enlightenment. This is precisely the point at which the attempt at philosophical hermeneutics must be critically applied. The overcoming of all prejudices, this blanket demand of the Enlightenment, will prove itself to be a prejudice, the revision of which will first clear the way for an appropriate understanding of the finite nature that dominates not only our humanity but also our historical consciousness.
Cf. >Tradition/Romanticism.
Does tradition really mean in the first place: to be subject to prejudice and to be limited in one's freedom? Is not rather all human existence, even the freest, limited and conditioned in manifold ways? If this is true, then the idea of an absolute reason is no possibility of historical humanity at all. Reason is for us only as real historical reason, i.e. par excellence: It is not master of itself, but always remains dependent on the circumstances in which
I 281
it is active. This applies not only in the sense that Kant, under the influence of Hume's sceptical criticism, limited the claims of rationalism to the a priori moment in the knowledge of nature - it applies much more decisively to historical consciousness and the possibility of historical knowledge.
Understanding/Gadamer: The human is alien to him- or herself and his or her historical fate in still quite a different way than nature is alien to him or her, which does not know about the human.
For historical understanding see also: >The Classical/Gadamer.
I 295
Hermeneutics/Gadamer: Understanding itself is not so much to be thought of as an act of subjectivity, but rather as moving into a process of tradition (i.e. handing down) in which past and present are constantly mediated. This is what must be brought to bear in hermeneutic theory, which is far too much dominated by the idea of a procedure, a method.
I 300
[A tension] plays between the foreignness and familiarity that tradition has for us, between the historically meant, distant representationalism and belonging to a tradition. In this in-between is the true place of hermeneutics.
I 313
Application of the understood: The inner fusion of understanding and interpretation led (...) to the fact that the third moment in the hermeneutical problem, the application, was completely pushed out of the context of hermeneutics.
For example, the edifying application of Sacred Scripture in Christian proclamation and preaching seemed quite different from the historical and theological understanding of it. Now our reflections have led us to the insight that in understanding there is always something like an application of the text to be understood to the present >situation of the interpreter. We are thus forced to take a step beyond romantic hermeneutics, as it were, by thinking not only of understanding and interpreting, but also of applying, as part of a unified process.
>Legal Hermeneutics/Gadamer, >Theological Hermeneutics/Gadamer.
I 334
Hermeneutics/Gadamer: Insofar as the actual object of historical understanding is not events but their "meaning", such understanding is obviously not correctly described when one speaks of an object that is in itself and the approach of the subject to it. In truth, historical understanding has always been based on the fact that the tradition that comes to us speaks into the present and must be understood in this mediation - even more: as this mediation must be understood.
I 391
Hermeneutics/Gadamer: Just as the translator, as interpreter, makes communication in conversation possible only by participating in the matter under discussion, so too, in relation to the text, the indispensable condition for the interpreter is that he or she participates in its meaning. It is therefore quite justified to speak of a hermeneutic conversation. But then it follows from this that the hermeneutic conversation, like the real conversation, must work out a common language, and that this working-out of a common language is just as little as in conversation the preparation of a tool for the purposes of understanding, but coincides with the accomplishment of understanding and understanding itself. Between the partners in this "conversation", as between two people, communication takes place that is more than mere adaptation. The text brings up a matter, but that it does so is ultimately the achievement of the interpreter. Both are involved.
I 392
In this sense, understanding is certainly not a "historical understanding" that reconstructs the correspondence of the text. Rather, one means to understand the text itself.
I 446
Hermeneutics/Humboldt/Gadamer: [Humboldt's] significance for the problem of hermeneutics lies (...) [in]: proving the language view as world view. >Language/Humboldt, >Culture/Humboldt.
He recognized the living execution of speech, the linguistic energeia as the essence of language and thus broke the dogmatism of the grammarists. From the concept of force, which guides all his thinking about language, he has in particular also put into perspective the question of the origin of language, which was particularly burdened by theological considerations.
Origin of language/Humboldt: [Humboldt] rightly emphasizes that language is human from its very beginning(2).
I 479
Hermeneutics/Gadamer: Universality of hermeneutics: (...) linguistically and thus understandably is the human world relationship par excellence and by its very basis. Hermeneutics is (...) in this respect a universal aspect of philosophy and not only the methodological basis of the so-called humanities.
I 480
Art/history: (...) the concepts of "art" and "history" (...) are forms of understanding that are only just separated from the universal mode of being of hermeneutic being as forms of hermeneutic experience.

1. Dilthey, Die Entstehung der Hermeneutik, Ges. Schriften vol. V, 317 338.
2. W. von Humboldt, „Über die Verschiedenheit des menschlichen Sprachbaus ..“
(first printed in 1836), § 9, p. 60

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gadamer I
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik 7. durchgesehene Auflage Tübingen 1960/2010

Gadamer II
H. G. Gadamer
The Relevance of the Beautiful, London 1986
German Edition:
Die Aktualität des Schönen: Kunst als Spiel, Symbol und Fest Stuttgart 1977

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