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Journal: Horizon. Studies in Phenomenology (Vol.3, No. 1)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 23-35

Keywords : Philosophical hermeneutics; hermeneutics of trust; hermeneutics of suspicion; under- standing; dialogue; prejudices; ideology.;

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The article attempts to defend and advance the project of Gadamer's hermeneutics of trust given that today the notion of understanding is inextricably tied to the view of tradition, discourse and language as inevitably contaminated by ideological distortions by supplementing it with Foucault's critical insights. The common ground between Foucault and Gadamer is that both thinkers militate against the notion of understanding as a process guided by universal criteria of rationality (in particular against Habermas' notion of non-distorted communication) maintaining instead that individuals are inextricably embedded within a particular tradition. Foucault, we maintain, is extremely important for Gadamer in that he develops a mode of critical relationship towards the tradition but precisely understood as a dynamic within the tradition itself, renegotiating and expanding the space of personal freedom; this process, no doubt, being guided by engaged individual perspective and self-understanding without any recourse to an Archimedean point of view outside of any tradition. In doing so Foucault is able to provide a much needed method of immanent critique of ideological distortions (potentially always present in the tradition, discourse or language) that remains faithful to the basic tenants of Gadamer's hermeneutic outlook. We consider a model that schematically demonstrates how such immanent critique can be carried out. We take Gadamer's notion of understanding as realised in an open and charitable dialogue and internalise this dialogue within a single subject taking place between two distinct perspectives: a critical Foucauldian perspective on the one hand, and the immediate self-undertstanding of situated subjectivity on the other. This internal dialogue should enable the subject to maintain a critical distance with respect to aspects of oneself that are a product of social practices and conditions (as demanded by critics of Gadamer), yet remaining within the space of Gadamerian dialogical understanding situated in the first-person ontology.

Last modified: 2018-07-16 16:36:34