Contributions to Hermeneutics

The Problem of Objectivity in Gadamer's Hermeneutics in Light of McDowell's Empiricism

Authors: Thaning, Morten S.

  • Is the first to inquire into the role of perceptual experience within the framework of hermeneutics
  • Provides a critical alternative to postmodern appropriations of hermeneutics
  • Achieves a ‘fusion of horizons’ between the two thinkers
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About this book

This book reassesses Gadamer’s hermeneutics by bringing it into a dialogue with John McDowell’s minimal empiricism. It employs the resources of McDowell’s minimal empiricism to address the transcendental and ontological presuppositions for objective experience and understanding, while retaining Gadamer’s emphasis on the historicity of understanding. By means of the dialogue with McDowell, the book develops a hermeneutical conception of objectivity and perceptual experience, which also entails reinterpretations of Gadamer’s notions of tradition, practical wisdom and meaning. The book explores the philosophical space beyond the analytic-Continental divide and demonstrates that hermeneutics is not limited to a reflection on understanding as it is practiced in the human sciences, but can be revived as a distinct and cogent philosophical approach with a transcendental and ontological dimension.
Thaning's book is a richly detailed, well-argued and coherent presentation of a defensible, and potentially very important, philosophical position. It demonstrates an impressively deep understanding of the literature both from the phenomenological tradition and from the part of the analytical tradition, inspired by Wilfred Sellars, to which John McDowell belongs. Being a substantial philosophical achievement in its own right, the book raises far-reaching questions that will be of interest to a wide audience.

Dr. Steven Crowell, Rice University, Houston (USA)


Morten Thaning’s book is an important contribution to the discourse of philosophical hermeneutics. Thaning extensively discusses a topic, which recent debates have touched upon, but which up to now has not been the subject matter of concentrated scholarly work: the relation between Gadamer’s hermeneutics and McDowell’s empiricism. With Thaning’s interpretation Gadamer’ work can be read anew as concerning the problem of hermeneutical objectivity.

Prof. Dr. Günter Figal, University of Freiburg (Germany)

About the authors

Morten S. Thaning, PhD, is Associate Professor in Philosophy at the Copenhagen Business School. He has published work on Ancient Philosophy, Heidegger, Gadamer, Foucault and John McDowell. He is currently engaged in the research project "Selfunderstanding and Selfalienation – Existential Hermeneutics and Psychopathology", funded by the Velux Foundation.

Table of contents (6 chapters)

  • Introduction: Reconstructing Philosophical Hermeneutics

    Thaning, Morten S.

    Pages 1-12

  • The Lack of Objectivity in Postmodern Hermeneutics

    Thaning, Morten S.

    Pages 13-36

  • The Socratic Paradigm of Objectivity

    Thaning, Morten S.

    Pages 37-59

  • Perceptual Experience and the Ontology of Self-Presentation

    Thaning, Morten S.

    Pages 61-115

  • Historical and Situated Objectivity: Tradition and Phronēsis

    Thaning, Morten S.

    Pages 117-165

Buy this book

eBook $99.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-18648-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-18647-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-37279-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Problem of Objectivity in Gadamer's Hermeneutics in Light of McDowell's Empiricism
Authors
Series Title
Contributions to Hermeneutics
Series Volume
1
Copyright
2015
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer International Publishing Switzerland
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-18648-1
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-18648-1
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-18647-4
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-37279-2
Series ISSN
2509-6087
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VI, 212
Topics