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Introduction to Philosophical Hermeneutics


Ladislav Tkáčik

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.


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12. The World of Text


  The world of text is characteristic of conservativeness; language is, as a  matter of fact, has more inertia than other areas of social life. Despite fundamental changes and transformation, language obstinately resists them. Usually only a  few new codes, phrases, and metaphors are added which only modify and enrich it a little. A  less noticeable quality of text is so-called reduced redundancy. Language, in its form, requires a  certain percentage of redundant words, redundant bearers of meanings, as though a  repeating padding, more than text. It is necessary since a  listener acoustically and visually can catch only a  certain part of the speech or text and a  part is always guessed. The listener adapts himself to the rhythm of what he hears. Therefore a cer- tain degree of redundancy is required otherwise speech would be intelligible since it would be unbearably tir- 102 ing. We deal here with the human ability to guess and understand the missed or unwritten meanings. It is an ability that can develop alone to a certain extent inde- pendently from the ability to talk or to read in a  cer- tain language. It is a case of a strange spiritual ability to understand the whole. We acquire it also in our mother tongue – if at all – for a relatively long time. For exam- ple, after we are back home from a foreign country, from another language environment, this ability is temporar- ily decreased. A written text can be less redundant but it would be also...

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