Springer Verlag (2019)

This book details a history of the methodology of textual interpretation from Ancient Greece to the 20th century. It presents a complete English translation of Hermeneutics and Its Problems, written by Russian philosopher Gustav Gustavovich Shpet, along with insightful commentary. Written in 1918, Shpet's text remained unpublished in its original Russian until the collapse of the Soviet Union. This engaging translation will be of value to anyone interested in early phenomenology, Russian intellectual history, as well as the divergence of phenomenology and the analytic philosophy of language. The volume also features translations of five key essays written by Shpet. The first presents an extended elaboration of a non-egological conception of consciousness on Husserlian grounds that considerably predates the well-known arguments of early Sartre and Gurwitsch. The second details the rudiments of a phenomenological philosophy of history that traces a central theme back to Parmenides. The next two reveal Shpet’s abiding philosophical interest in combating skepticism and what he took to be the reigning neo-Kantian model by which philosophy is a handmaiden to mathematical physics. The final one features a terse statement of Shpet’s overall philosophical viewpoint, written during the early years of the Stalinist period. Shpet offers an example of one facet of philosophy from a phenomenological viewpoint, demonstrating the progress as well as the deficiencies of successive eras along the historical journey. In doing so, he also gradually reveals the need for a theory of signs, interpretation, and understanding. This collection brings together key documents for assessing Shpet’s hermeneutic phenomenology and his perceived need to develop a phenomenological philosophy of language.
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ISBN(s) 9783319989402   978-3-319-98940-2   978-3-319-98941-9   3319989405
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-98941-9
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Chapters BETA
[Origin of the Idea and of the Methods of Hermeneutics]

Shpet here introduces the theme of his text, which is to understand the role of the “word,” broadly understood to include even whole passages of text. Questions concerning hermeneutics arose historically from attempts to understand interpretation with regard to the practical demands of pedagogy, mor... see more

[Friedrich] Schleiermacher

Schleiermacher’s understanding of what confronts hermeneutics remains unsurpassed to the present day. For him, the chief task was the search for the content of hermeneutics as well as the clarification of the foundations of its scientific techniques. Shpet wishes to concentrate on Schleiermacher’s t... see more

Ernesti [and Ast: The Reorientation of Hermeneutics from Theology Toward Philology]

Although a largely unoriginal thinker, Ernesti, a rationalist, offered an interpretation of Scripture freed from Church dogma and the instability of common sense. With him, hermeneutics centered on philology rather than on the limited sphere of Biblical investigation and became both freer in its tec... see more

The Contemporary Situation

Shpet in this chapter presents his view that philosophical problems of knowledge as elucidated particularly in neo-Kantian tracts are not just incomplete and one-sided, but simply wrong. They are ignorant of the independent foundations of historical knowledge. From this thesis, Shpet explores the vi... see more

Flacius [and Biblical Hermeneutics in the Renaissance]

The inadequacy of ambiguous theories of interpretation left the door open for arbitrary interpretations of a text. During the Reformation, hermeneutics became a vital topic for theology. Varying and conflicting interpretations of Scripture were offered by Protestants and Catholics, leading to attemp... see more

General Remarks on the Relation of the Sciences [to Hermeneutics] as a Transition to Ernesti

Up to this historical period, hermeneutics had developed blindly without an awareness of its theoretical value. Practical interests stood in the foreground by those who thought about the problems associated with it. Hermeneutics had to turn toward epistemological issues, seeing signs not only as an ... see more

[Hermeneutical Moments of Historical Methodology]

In this chapter, Shpet looks at Steinthal, who views psychology as the explanatory science among the human sciences. For Shpet, Steinthal’s position requires us to clarify just what a psychological interpretation is. Through it, we can hope to obtain a more precise answer to just what is special abo... see more

[Dilthey’s Development of Hermeneutics]

The second half of the nineteenth century saw a lively interest in the “historical problem.” Shpet here turns to the role of hermeneutics in the ongoing elaborations of the methodology of historical knowledge. Prantl was the first to undertake such a treatment, but his direction turned out to be unf... see more

[Hermeneutics After Schleiermacher]

The distinctions Schleiermacher drew fundamentally determined the subsequent path of hermeneutics, but the absence of a basis for his ideas did not allow for their further deepening or development. In this chapter, Shpet surveys the views of, among others, Boeckh, who identified philology with histo... see more

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Gustav Shpet’s Transcendental Turn.Liisa Bourgeot - 2020 - Studies in East European Thought 73 (2):169-192.

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