10. Reasonableness, Dialogue and Freedom: Ethical-Political Consequences of Hermeneutics 217
217 10. Reasonableness, Dialogue and Freedom: Ethical-Political Consequences of Hermeneutics As we have seen in the previous chapter, from the early 1970s on- wards Gadamer has explicitly “converted” philosophical hermeneutics into practical philosophy, giving a very broad interpretation to the concept of praxis, which he has taken for “the whole original situated- ness of humans in their natural and social environment”1. In this re- spect, praxis becomes a synonym, so to speak, for the entire life- wordly, “factic” and hermeneutic dimension of life. The word itself, “practice”, according to Gadamer, points indeed to “the totality of our practical life, all our human action and behavior; the self-adaptation of the human being as a whole in this world. […] Our praxis, in short, is our ‘form of life’ (unsere Lebensform)”2. Besides this wide and all-encompassing meaning, however, there is also a narrower sense in which Gadamer understands the concept of practice. As a matter of fact, praxis originally meant “action”, which for Aristotle, as I said, differs from both theory (theoria) and produc- tion or making (poiesis). Accordingly, the virtue of practical wisdom (phronesis) – intended as “a true and reasoned state of capacity to act with regard to the things that are good or bad for man”3 – is essentially “concerned with action”4, and is accurately distinguished by Aristotle from knowledge (episteme) and art (techne)5. Strictly speaking, the 1 GW 10, p. 234 [EPH, p. 217]. 2 HÄP, p. 65 [GC, pp. 78-79 (my italics)]. 3 Aristotle,...
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