Dialogue 37 (1):65-82 (1998)

The hermeneutic point of view can perhaps be most readily grasped as to its basic import by means of an opposition to scientific method. Whereas science endeavours to neutralize or eliminate the activity of the knower in order that the object may be known “objectively,” hermeneutic understanding or insight knows and acknowledges itself to be the result of a mutually transforming involvement of the knower with the object known. The scientist strives to know the object as it is in itself, free from perspectival or personal bias. The hermeneut, by contrast, is interested above all in knowing the meaning the object takes on for someone within a particular context of experience. Moreover, the categories of hermeneutic understanding, rather than being imposed by the subject on the object, emerge from the encounter with the object, or better, the “other,” as it gives itself in relation to the knower. Thus, the knower’s experience and even self-knowledge within the experience of the other are constitutive of the known rather than being supposedly transparent media through and in which the object becomes present to the knower.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0012-2173
DOI 10.1017/s0012217300047594
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