Introduction to Philosophical Hermeneutics

by Ladislav Tkáčik (Author)
©2016 Monographs 118 Pages
Series: Uni Slovakia, Volume 7


To be confronted with a text can lead us to open our own living world, to its expansion and saturation with something new or even with something else, something unpredictable. What then makes a human a human? Can philosophical hermeneutics say anything about that? It can! «Language is the real centre of a human being… The human is a real, as Aristotle used to say, being who has language» (Hans-Georg Gadamer). What makes a human a human is the fact that internal reflection is performed behind his voice. This is the most original topic of philosophical hermeneutics.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the Author
  • About the Book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • 1. Preface
  • 2. Hermeneutics as a Term
  • 3. The Oldest History of Hermeneutic Thinking
  • 4. Medieval Hermeneutic Thinking
  • 5. Hermeneutics and Protestantism
  • 6. Hermeneutic Thinking in Modern Times
  • 7. Hermeneutics of Romanticism
  • 8. Hermeneutics and Historicism
  • 9. 20th Century Hermeneutic Thinking
  • 10. Hermeneutics and Postmodernism
  • 11. The World of Language and Discourse
  • 12. The World of Text
  • Bibliography and Recommended Literature

1. Preface

Jan Greisch talks about today as a hermeneutic age of reason (Comp.: Rozumět a interpretovat. Praha: FÚ AV ČR, 1995). What does he mean by that? What once seemed to be provincial and marginal, acquired in philosophical hermeneutics of the 19th century a form of analysis of transcendental conditions of possibility of understanding and today it is a matter of course to accept the interpretativeness of the thinking itself. Peter Szondi points out that hermeneutics must not be reconciled with being only a strange application of a general theory. Philosophical hermeneutics deals with “dialectics” of uniqueness and universality. We live in a period that invented the universality of the problem of understanding and interpretation and is trying to define measuredly the form of understanding of the reason itself. Otto Pöggler calls it hermeneutic philosophy. Without exaggeration we can ← 7 | 8 → say about the whole of philosophy that it needs to be hermeneutic.

We believe that this exciting journey, which stretches across philosophy in history from instrumental understanding of hermeneutics as a methodological reference tool connected with the understanding of texts through development stages up to the acknowledgment of hermeneutics as a fundamental characteristic of philosophical thinking in general, cannot be left aside if we do not want to inflict injury to a reader studying the basics of humanist culture. ← 8 | 9 →

2. Hermeneutics as a Term

The term hermeneutics refers to the Greek verb hermeneuein that is translated as “interpret.” The Greek hermeios is a related expression which refers to a priest in a Delphian oracle and primarily to the name Hermes itself, who was a messenger of gods in Greek mythology. The verb hermeneuein can be found in the first interpreters of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey Pindar and Aeschylus but also in Plato’s dialogues Kratylus, Epinomis, or Ión. Also Aristotle named one of his propaedeutic treatises Peri herméneias.

Hermes in Greek mythology was not only a god of traders and thieves but also a god of discourse and communication; he was assigned the invention of tools that help understand, preserve, and transfer a meaning – speech and writing. Hermes interpreted into human language what was beyond language. He adapted the divine to a form acceptable for humane intelligence. ← 9 | 10 →


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2016 (April)
interpretation language understanding textuality history
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2016. 118 pp.

Biographical notes

Ladislav Tkáčik (Author)

Ladislav Tkáčik is an Associated Professor of philosophy at Trnava University. His research focuses on phenomenology, hermeneutics and philosophy of culture.


Title: Introduction to Philosophical Hermeneutics