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Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication

With a Foreword by Richard J. Bernstein and an Afterword by John Durham Peters

Edited By Jason Hannan

Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication is the first book to draw systematic attention to the theme of communication in twentieth-century academic philosophy. It covers a broad range of philosophical perspectives on communication, including those from analytic philosophy, pragmatism, critical theory, phenomenology, hermeneutics, feminism, psychoanalysis, systems theory, and more. What emerges is a vital, long-neglected story about the theme of communication in late modern academic philosophy. Each chapter features a «profile» of a particular philosophical figure, with a brief intellectual biography, an overview of that figure’s contribution to communication theory, and a critical assessment of the significance of that contribution. The clear and accessible organization of the volume makes it ideal for courses in both philosophy and communication studies.


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10 Hans-Georg Gadamer: Philosophical Hermeneutics and the Interplay of Understanding and Meaning RONALD C. ARNETT 235


10 Hans-Georg Gadamer Philosophical Hermeneutics and the Interplay of Understanding and Meaning RONALD C. ARNETT ________________________________________ This essay situates Hans-Georg Gadamer’s contribution to the study and practice of philosophy of communication. Gadamer’s philosophical hermen- eutics suggests a philosophy of communication attentive to dialogue that is inclusive of the bias or prejudice1 of the reader, who brings forth a given question to the text. The interpreter doing philosophical hermeneutics is ever mindful of interpretive responsibility, which responds to the horizon of the meaning and significance of a text. This essay highlights two of Gadamer’s major works as exemplars of the doing and the study of philosophical hermeneutics understood as a creative form of philosophy of communication. Working within the horizon of Gadamer’s project, this essay seeks to frame Gadamer’s arguments and assertions, which give identity to his understanding of philosophical hermeneutics. Introduction Edmund Husserl is the founder of phenomenology. Martin Heidegger is the founder of existential phenomenology. Hans-Georg Gadamer is the founder of philosophical hermeneutics. Gadamer’s work is an extension of Husserl’s insights and Heidegger’s lifelong project. Gadamer’s work can be under- stood as interpretation that honors both the horizon of the text and the particular uniqueness that a given reader brings to that text. 236 | Ronald C. Arnett This essay examines Gadamer’s life and major works in the following fashion: (1) an outline of his formation, education, and professional life; (2) an attempt to exemplify the connection between philosophical hermeneutics and philosophy of communication with an emphasis upon understanding and meaning;...

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