Hermeneutics can loosely be defined as the theory or philosophy of the interpretation of menaing. It is a central topic in the philosophy of the social sciences, the philosophy of art and language and in literary criticism. This book, first published in 1980, gives a detailed overview and analysis of the main strands of contemporary hermeneutical thought. It includes a number of readings in order to give the reader a first-hand acquaintance with the subjects and the debates within it.
Part 1. Hermeneutical Theory 1. The Rise of the Classical Hermeneutics 2. Betti’s Hermeneutical Theory Reading 1. Emilio Betti: Hermeneutics as the General Methodology of the Geisteswissenscaften Part 2. Hermeneutic Philosophy 3. Heidegger’s Existential-Ontological Hermeneutic 4. Bultmann’s Theological Hermeneutic 5. Gadamer’s Philosophical Hermeneutic 6. Conclusions: Hermeneutic Philosophy and Hermeneutical Theory Reading 2. Hans-Georg Gadamer: The Universality of the Hermeneutical Problem Part 3. Critical Hermeneutics 7. Apel: Critical Hermeneutics in the Form of an Anthropology of Knowledge 8. Habermas’s Programme of a Dialectical-Hermeneutical Social Science 9. Materialist Hermeneutics 10. Conclusions: Hermeneutics and Marxism Reading 3. Jürgen Habermas: The Hermeneutic Claim to Universality Part 4. Summary and New Perspectives 11. Ricoeur’s Phenomenological Hermeneutic 12. Ricoeur’s Theory of Interpretation 13. Conclusions: Ricoeur and the Hermeneutic Dispute Reading 4. Paul Ricoeur: Existence and Hermeneutics