Hermeneutics ‘Reloaded’: From Science/Philosophy Dichotomy to Critical Hermeneutics
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AbstractCurrently, hermeneutics is no longer a koinè, yet it pervades the field of human knowledge on different and diverse levels. With the decline of philosophical hermeneutics, the inheritance of a rich tradition of thought, there remains some very important problematic and speculative cornerstones and a poorly ordered horizon of hermeneutical practices and procedures, more or less technical and/or speculative. From this composite picture the (negative) possibility of truths without method and methods without truth or validity emerges; and therefore, again, emerge the problems of consistency, rigour and philosophical legitimacy, and the risk of non-rational seductions and/or ideological distortions. From another point of view, philosophy and reflection within hermeneutical traditions have elaborated sufficient critical content and devices for the definition of an organised, rigorous and controlled model of a comprehensive procedure. From this perspective, Paul Ricoeur’s philosophical work seems emblematic. From his philosophy it is possible to extract a general model of a non-philosophically-engaged hermeneutical method, which is valuable for the human and social sciences as well as a useful procedure for interdisciplinary work. This is critical hermeneutics: a specific form of speculative and theoretical hermeneutics whose methodological and epistemological foundation mirrors the new form of the contemporary hermeneutic-scientific koinè.