Truth and Method *
These studies are concerned with the problem of hermeneutics. The phenomenon of understanding and of the correct interpretation of what has been understood is not just a problem proper to the methodology of the human sciences. For a long time, there has been a theological and a legal hermeneutics, which were not so much theoretical as related to, and an aid to, the practical activity of the judge or clergyman who had completed his theoretical training. From its historical origin, the problem of hermeneutics goes beyond the limits that the concept of method sets to modern science. The understanding and the interpretation of texts is not merely a concern of science, but is obviously part of the total human experience of the world. The hermeneutic phenomenon is basically not a problem of method at all. It is not concerned with a method of understanding, by means of which texts are subjected to scientific investigation like all other objects of experience. It is not concerned primarily with the amassing of ratified knowledge which satisfies the methodological ideal of science--yet it is concerned, here, too, with knowledge and with truth. In understanding tradition not only are texts understood, but insights are gained and truths acknowledged. But what kind of insight and what kind of truth?
In the face of the dominant position of modern science in the philosophical clarification and justification of the concept of knowledge and the concept of truth, this question does not appear legitimate. Yet it is unavoidable, even within the sciences. The phenomenon of understanding not only pervades all human relations to the world. It also has an independent validity within science and resists any attempt to change it into a method of science. The following investigation starts with the resistance within modern science against the universal claim of scientific method. It is concerned to seek that experience of truth that transcends the sphere of the control of
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Publication information: Book title: The Hermeneutic Tradition:From Ast to Ricoeur. Contributors: Gayle L. Ormiston - Editor, Alan D. Schrift - Editor. Publisher: State University of New York Press. Place of publication: Albany, NY. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 198.
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