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Phenomenological Hermeneutics Pt I

Phenomenological Hermeneutics Pt I

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Published by davidmkaplan
Phenomenological Hermeneutics and Hermeneutic Phenomenology, Part One
Phenomenological Hermeneutics and Hermeneutic Phenomenology, Part One

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Published by: davidmkaplan on Oct 17, 2009
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07/05/2013

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I.PHENOMENOLOGICAL HERMENEUTICS AND HERMENEUTIC PHENOMENOLOGY
 
1.
THE INTERPRETIVE TURN IN PHENOMENOLOGY
:
A PHILOSOPHICAL HISTORY
1
Gary B. Madison
It is experience … still mute which weare concerned with leading to the pureexpression of its own meaning.
2
Experience is the experience of human finitude.
3
Phenomenology and the Overcoming of Metaphysics
Richard Rorty has said of phenomenology that it is “a form of philosophizing whose utilitycontinues to escape me” and that “hermeneutic philosophy” is a “vague and unfruitful”notion.
4
Remarks such as these should be of no surprise, coming as they do from some-onewhodoesnotviewphilosophyas(asHegelsaid)“seriousbusiness--i.e.,asareasonedand principled search for the truth of things -- but, rather, as a kind of “professionaldilettantism” and who, accordingly, sees no difference between philosophy and literarycriticism. It is hard to imagine two philosophers (if that’s the right term to apply to Rorty)standing in greater contrast than Richard Rorty and Edmund Husserl. Whereas in Rorty’s“neo-pragmatic” view philosophy can be nothing more than a kind of “culture chat” and,inasmuch as it may, just possibly, have some relevance to actual practice, a criterionless,unprincipled“kibitzing”and“muddling-through,”Husserldefendedphenomenologybecausehe saw it as a means at last for making of philosophy a “rigorous science,” one, moreover,which would be of supreme theoretical-critical relevance to the life of humanity.
5
Onething Husserl meant by his programmatic remarks on this subject in his 1911
Logos
article,“Philosophy as Rigorous Science,”
6
is that a properly phenomenological philosophywould rigorously eschew idle metaphysical speculations of the traditional sort and seek,instead, to remain in close contact with “the things themselves (
die Sachen selbst 
),” i.e.,our actual lived experience.
7
In the early twentieth century, dominated as it was by
1
This paper is dedicated to the memory of Franz Vandenbusche, S.J., of the University of Louvain(Leuven), who forty some years ago introduced me as a young graduate student to the phenomenologyof Husserl and Merleau-Ponty and who was killed in a collision with a train in 1990.
2
This is Merleau-Ponty’s own rendering of a line in Husserl; see Maurice Merleau-Ponty,
TheVisible and the Invisible
, trans. Alphonso Lingis (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1968),129, hereafter VI, and Edmund Husserl,
Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology
, trans.Dorion Cairns (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1960), sec. 16, 38-39.
3
Hans-Georg Gadamer,
Truth and Method 
, 2d rev. ed., trans. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G.Marshall (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1990), 320, hereafter TM.
4
See Carlos G. Prado, “A Conversation with Richard Rorty,”
Symposium
7, no. 2 (Fall/Automne2003): 228.
5
For a forceful statement on Husserl’s part of the responsibility as he saw it of philosophy forhumanity, see his late, 1935 “Vienna Lecture” (“Philosophy and the Crisis of European Humanity,”) inEdmund Husserl,
The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introductionto Phenomenological Philosophy
, trans. David Carr (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1970);published also in Edmund Husserl,
Phenomenology and the Crisis of Philosophy
, trans. Quentin Lauer(New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1965).
6
See Edmund Husserl,
Philosophie als strenge Wissenschaft 
(Frankfurt a.M.: Vittorio Klostermann,1965); English translation in idem,
Phenomenology and the Crisis of Philosophy
, hereafter PRS.
7
Cf. the following remarks of Hans-Georg Gadamer, a pupil of Husserl’s at one time: “He [Husserl]regarded himself as a master and teacher of patient, descriptive, detailed work, and all rash combinationsand clever constructions were an abomination to him. In his teaching, whenever he encountered the grand3

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