Hermeneutics and Human Finitude: Toward a Theory of Ethical Understanding

Synopsis

Having thought out the Enlightenment project of individualism, privacy, and autonomy to its end, Anglo-American ethical theory now finds itself unable to respond to the collapse of community in which the practices justified by this project have resulted. In the place of reasonable deliberation about the goals to be chosen and the means to them, we now, it seems, have only what MacIntyre has aptly called ¿interminable debate¿ among ¿rival¿ positions, debate in which each party merely contends with the others for its own advantage. And this circumstance MacIntyre himself seems unable to escape despite his best efforts. In further elaborating Hans-Georg Gadamer¿s hermeneutical reception of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, and Hegel, and in referring simultaneously to Edmund Burke¿s parallel political rhetoric, among other tradition-oriented arguments in the English language, this book seeks a recollection of shared ethical principles, a recollection which alone, it is argued, might prevent the devolution of discussion into war with words and make possible some measure of consensus, however provisional and shadowed by dissent it will be.

Additional information

Contributors:
Includes content by:
  • Heidegger
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1991