Hermeneutics and Human Finitude: Toward a Theory of Ethical Understanding

By P. Christopher Smith | Go to book overview
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way to approach Gadamer is not through this foreign debate but through some of the related Anglo-American discussion. This is not to say at all that my investigations will be restricted to the issues currently being treated in contemporary Anglo-American thought. For, again, the aim is not simply to apply Gadamer's thought to the set of questions to which it has restricted itself, but instead to indicate how, in beginning with shared concerns, English-speaking philosophers might follow Gadamer's lead in recovering the heritage of classical speculative philosophy and widen their perspectives to include its questions -- questions in particular about the good, what it is, and how we come to understand it, as such things are discussed in Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, and Hegel. Since Maclntyre, in raising the question of aretē or virtue and in turning to Aristotle for an answer to it, has already broken considerable ground here, I will take his work as my point of departure.


NOTES
1.
For more general and inclusive expositions of Gadamer's hermeneutical theory, see Joel Weinsheimer sympathetic and accurate Gadamer's Hermeneutics: A Reading of TRUTH AND METHOD ( New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1985) and Gloria Warnke Gadamer: Hermeneutics, Tradition, and Reason ( Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987). The latter includes important passages linking Gadamer to Rorty and Maclntyre and begins something of the merging of horizons I am attempting here. In what follows I will deal extensively with Maclntyre and will show that behind the similarities between Maclntyre and Gadamer that Warnke correctly points out some serious differences are concealed. Also, as opposed to both these works, I will rely most heavily on Gadamer's interpretation and appropriation of Plato, Aristotle, and Hegel. For true to his hermeneutic principles, Gadamer, I think, develops his most original thought in response to the thought of others.
2.
Compare, in addition to Warnke, Richard Bernstein, Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis

-xxvii-

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