The Life of Understanding
90 pages
English

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90 pages
English
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Extensions of Gadamer's hermeneutics via dialogue with Plato


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.


Acknowledgments
Platonic Gestures
1. Memory and Life: Hermeneutics as Convalescence
2. Distressed Memory: Hermeneutics and the Venture of the Foreign
3. Beyond Distress: Toward a Community of Memory
4. The Fabric of Life: Dialectics, Discourse, and the Art of Weaving
5. Severed Threads: The Incapacity of Language
6. Reading beyond the Letter: On Memory and Writing
7. The Flash of Beauty
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 25 juillet 2012
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253002198
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

THE LIFE OF UNDERSTANDING
STUDIES IN CONTINENTAL THOUGHT
John Sallis, editor
Consulting Editors

Robert Bernasconi
J. N. Mohanty

Rudolph Bernet
Mary Rawlinson

John D. Caputo
Tom Rockmore

David Carr
Calvin O. Schrag

Edward S. Casey
Reiner Sch rmann

Hubert Dreyfus
Charles E. Scott

Don Ihde
Thomas Sheehan

David Farrell Krell
Robert Sokolowski

Lenore Langsdorf
Bruce W. Wilshire

Alphonso Lingis
David Wood

William L. McBride
The Life of Understanding
A Contemporary Hermeneutics
JAMES RISSER
Indiana University Press
Bloomington Indianapolis
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
601 North Morton Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47404-3797 USA
iupress.indiana.edu

Telephone orders 800-842-6796
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2012 by James Risser
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Risser, James, [date]
The life of understanding : a contemporary hermeneutics / James Risser.
p. cm. - (Studies in Continental thought)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-253-00214-3 (cloth : alk. paper)-ISBN 978-0-253-00219-8 (electronic) 1. Hermeneutics. 2. Plato. 3. Gadamer, Hans-Georg, 1900-2002. I. Title.
BD241.R498 2012
121 .686-dc23
2012007746
1 2 3 4 5 17 16 15 14 13 12
CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Introduction: Platonic Gestures
ONE Memory and Life: Hermeneutics as Convalescence
TWO Distressed Memory: Hermeneutics and the Venture of the Foreign
THREE Beyond Distress: Toward a Community of Memory
FOUR The Fabric of Life: Dialectics, Discourse, and the Art of Weaving
FIVE Severed Threads: The Incapacity of Language
SIX Reading beyond the Letter: On Memory and Writing
SEVEN The Flash of Beauty
NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This book first took shape when I gave the Andr Schuwer Lecture at the annual meeting of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (spep) in 2003. That lecture eventually became the first chapter of this book. With that and with other occasions in subsequent years at various places to present many of the ideas brought forward in this book, I was greatly aided by colleagues and friends who heard this work and in their responses have contributed to its development. I want to especially thank Walter Brogan, Pat Burke, Marylou Sena, G nter Figal, and Nicholas Davey. I also want to thank John Sallis, Burt Hopkins, Charles Scott, Dennis Schmidt, and Donatella DiCesare, whose own work has been an inspiration to me. Once again, I am deeply indebted to my wife Jean who continues to abide the slowness of my work.
Earlier versions of several chapters have appeared elsewhere. The Memory of Life: Hermeneutics as Convalescence was originally published under the title On the Continuation of Philosophy: Hermeneutics as Convalescence in Weakening Philosophy: Essays in Honour of Gianni Vatimo, ed. Santiago Zabala (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2007), 184-202. The Fabric of Life: Dialectics, Discourse, and the Art of Weaving was originally published under the title Discourse, Dialectic, and the Art of Weaving in Epoche: A Journal for the History of Philosophy, 13, no. 2 (Spring 2009): 291-98. Severed Threads: The Incapacity of Language was originally published under the title The Incapacity of Language in The Journal for the British Society for Phenomenology, 40 (2009): 300-11. Reading Beyond the Letter: On Memory and Writing was originally published under the title Ideality, Memory and the Written Word in Internationale Jahrbuch f r Hermeneutik 2009, ed. G nter Figal (T bingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2009), 27-40.
THE LIFE OF UNDERSTANDING
Introduction: Platonic Gestures
My aim in this book is to develop and enlarge the hermeneutic insight that understanding is inseparably tied to the life situation. This is the insight that characterizes the scope of hermeneutics drawn from the principal sources for this book, namely, the hermeneutics of Martin Heidegger and, more particularly, Hans-Georg Gadamer. This is the hermeneutics that begins with Heidegger s early formulation of hermeneutics under the heading of a hermeneutics of facticity, in which philosophical research has as its basic concern the interpretive movement occurring within factical life. Factical life, as the original evidence situation of philosophy, is simply the existing historical situation in which an individual always finds oneself and which requires interpretation as a way of continually gaining access to it. This hermeneutics, which effectively recasts the character of the theoretical as it was conceived in the early project of phenomenology and neo-Kantian philosophy, is furthered by Gadamer, who broadens it into a more overt cultural and social context where the perspective of interpretation is indeed inseparable from its basic relation not just to the historical aspect of historical life but to human living in general. While it is true that Gadamer s hermeneutics devotes considerable attention to the character of textual interpretation, it is not, at bottom, a theory of textual interpretation in its classical sense. In his philosophical hermeneutics the interpretation of texts is to be woven into the broader concern of making one s way in life such that the interpretation of texts is part of the communicative experience in which the world in which we live opens up.
It is easy to see here that any amplification of the hermeneutic insight of the juxtaposition of life and understanding must involve itself in a thoroughgoing way in the hermeneutics of Heidegger and Gadamer, but my intent is not to present a critical exposition of their positions. Both positions have already been extensively treated in the secondary literature. Rather, my intent is to move beyond their stated positions, in effect to present something like a hermeneutics after Gadamer, by an amplification that ties hermeneutics back to the basic experience of philosophy as defined by Plato. The incorporation of Plato into the project of hermeneutics, by way of indications for its thematic development, has the effect of broadening the scope of hermeneutics as philosophy and identifies more properly what is at issue in this book. In moving back to Plato one can find resources for directions in hermeneutics and for opening up new possibilities for the life of understanding.
With the introduction of Plato as a third figure for the further development of hermeneutics, the thematic presentation is effectively entangled in and constantly moving between two sets of relations, with Gadamer as the pivotal figure: Heidegger-Gadamer, and Gadamer- Plato. The first relation, as noted, constitutes the scope of contemporary hermeneutics with respect to the life situation; but more than this, this relation is the relation that is absolutely essential to consider for anyone interpreting Gadamer s hermeneutics. Gadamer does not just borrow from Heidegger the basic principles of a hermeneutic phenomenology which he then applies in his own way to craft what he calls a philosophical hermeneutics. Rather, his thought is fully informed by his lifelong association with Heidegger s work, so much so that the key to understanding the extent to which Gadamer extends the range of hermeneutic philosophy in an original way lies in a careful appreciation of this association. While clearly acknowledging in Truth and Method that he is taking over from Heidegger the notion of interpretation and understanding that originates in a hermeneutics of facticity and is famously presented in Being and Time, he also states in his autobiographical writings how important the later Heidegger s work on language and art was for his own expanded sense of hermeneutics. 1 In a sense, Gadamer s hermeneutics provides the link between the early and late Heidegger s work, a link that Heidegger himself acknowledges but fails to fully articulate.
If there is a natural affinity between Gadamer and Heidegger, the same can also be said to exist, for different reasons, between Gadamer and Plato. Certainly the importance of Plato for Gadamer is well known and the subject of many commentaries. 2 In Gadamer s writings the reader is constantly directed to Plato, not to provide examples for the point under discussion, but to inform the hermeneutical dimension of this point. Plato, more so than Aristotle or Hegel, is the second principal source for Gadamer s hermeneutics, shaping its essential character in a very direct way. This is evident by seeing how Gadamer draws on Plato, not just for the framework of dialogue, which fashions his hermeneutics so decisively, but for the character of human reason, the basic comportment of the philosopher to human living, the nature of the beautiful, and as a way of understanding ethical life. Drawing on Plato in this way and with respect to these topics allows his readers not only to see a Plato who has

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