Hermeneutics and the Problem of Interpretation in 20th Century Philosophy

Hermeneutics and the Problem of Interpretation in 20th Century Philosophy

December 25, 2019 0 By Felso

One of the important movements of 20th century philosophy is hermeneutics.

Hermeneutics is the interpretation of the meaning of products and structures formed by human words and actions. Hermeneutics, monotheistic religions, especially in the interpretation of the sacred texts or the prophet’s words and behavior emerged in the form of understanding and has been applied in all texts over time.

Dilthey is a prominent founding philosopher of hermeneutics and primarily distinguishes between natural and spiritual sciences. Natural sciences are external and spiritual sciences are human. History is also the beginning of spiritual sciences. Dilthey argues that each period has its own spirituality and that this spirituality has its own meaning in language. In order to understand a historical period or a historical event, it is necessary to look at the meanings of the spiritual structure of that period.

Hermeneutics, as a result of  Gadamer ‘s wide and systematic thoughts on meaning and interpretation has turned into a real philosophical movement. Gadamer saw hermeneutics as a search for truth rather than a method. Gadamer says that hermeneutics are necessary for one person to finally understand himself and that he acts as a bridge. Understanding is the greatest ability of human existence. Understanding is the reproduction of produced knowledge.

According to Gadamer, human beings necessarily have prejudices. Prejudice is a necessary condition for understanding for man. Prejudices provide a kind of pre-knowledge and show the limit to which a human perspective can be reached. Gadamer explains understanding through the theory that he calls the fusion of horizons. The horizon of the person provided by pre-knowledge fuses with the horizon of what it is directed to understand and emerges. The convergence of horizons can be in the form of understanding a person’s words or interpreting a text through the relationship between language and meaning.


–  What is Gadamer and her philosophical hermeneutics?

Prepared by:  Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source:  Ömer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Department of Sociology 1st Grade Giriş Introduction to Philosophy ”and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade Tarihi History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook