1st Edition

McDowell and the Hermeneutic Tradition

Edited By Daniel Martin Feige, Thomas J. Spiegel Copyright 2024

    This volume explores the connections between John McDowell’s philosophy and the hermeneutic tradition. The contributions not only explore the hermeneutical aspects of McDowell’s thought but also ask how this reading of McDowell can inform the hermeneutical tradition itself.

    John McDowell has made important contributions to debates in epistemology, metaethics, and philosophy of language, and his readings of Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, and Wittgenstein have proved widely influential. While there are instances in which McDowell draws upon the work of hermeneutic thinkers, the hermeneutic strand of McDowell’s philosophy has not yet been systematically explored in depth. The chapters in this volume open up a space in which to read McDowell himself as a hermeneutic thinker. They address several research questions: How can McDowell’s recourse to the hermeneutical tradition be understood in detail? Besides Gadamer, does McDowell’s work implicitly convey and advance motives from other seminal figures of this tradition, such as Heidegger and Dilthey? Are there aspects of McDowell’s position that can be enhanced through a juxtaposition with central hermeneutic concepts like World, Tradition, and Understanding? Are there further, perhaps yet unexplored aspects of McDowell’s infl uences that ought to be interpreted as expressing hermeneutic ideas?

    McDowell and the Hermeneutic Tradition will appeal to researchers and advanced students working in American philosophy, Continental philosophy, hermeneutics, history of philosophy, philosophy of language, and epistemology.

    Preface John McDowell

    Introduction Thomas J. Spiegel and Daniel Martin Feige

    1.  The Quiet Hermeneutics of John McDowell Sabina Lovibond

    2.  On Recognizing and Bridging the Gap between Analyticand Continental Philosophy Pirmin Stekeler-Weithofer

    3. Precariousness and the Situated Space of Reasons Shaun Gallagher

    4. McDowell’s Theory of Perceptual Experience and the Rapprochement between Hermeneutics and Cognitive Sciences Nadja El Kassar

    5. Liberalizing Second Nature: McDowell, Dilthey, and the Sociality of Reason Eric S. Nelson

    6.  Second Nature, Hermeneutics, and Objective Spirit Thomas J. Spiegel

    7.  Gadamer According to McDowell, McDowell According to Gadamer: A Meditation on Some Common Themes Sebastian Luft

    8. Indeterminate Life: Themes of a Hermeneutical Anthropology in Gadamer and McDowell Daniel Martin Feige

    9. Coming Full Circle: Experience, Tradition, and Critique in Gadamer and McDowell David Lauer

    10. McDowell and the Hermeneutic Approach to the History of Philosophy Yael Gazit

    11. The Fragility of Reflection and the Spectrum of Nature: McDowell, Brandom, and the Debate between Hermeneutics and Critical Theory Italo Testa


    Daniel Martin Feige is Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design. His research focuses on topics in philosophical aesthetics and philosophical anthropology in their relation to topics in theoretical and practical philosophy. His latest book is Die Natur des Menschen: Eine dialektische Anthropologie (Berlin: Suhrkamp 2022).

    Thomas J. Spiegel is Humboldt/JSPS postdoctoral fellow at Waseda University. He studied philosophy in Berlin, London, Tokyo, Pittsburgh, and Leipzig. He received his PhD in 2017 from the University of Leipzig under the supervision of Pirmin Stekeler-Weithofer and Robert Brandom.