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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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3. The Oldest History of Hermeneutic Thinking


Unintelligibility – a situation that is familiar to every human being. A problem of interpretation is a result of unintelligibility: a man does not understand, did not understand, stumbled over the unintelligible, and starts asking a question, where is the problem? Why do these pictures, set phrases, and contexts rebel against the smooth successive understanding?

Analogical experience can be used when talking about emergence of the hermeneutic problem in ancient Greece. A conflict, which was forcefully understood by e.g. Heraclitus of Ephesus, Theagenes of Rhegium, Metrodorus of Lampsacus, and other thinkers in the 6th century B.C., and which was connected with the period alienation of myth. The contemporary understanding, which was confronted with passages of traditional mythical-religious tradition, rebelled against under ← 11 | 12 → standing up to a scandal. Myth was homogenous with the existing world before the decline of ancient family society. A man from this society did not feel the conflict between the myth and reality, he lived in the myth and the myth was giving him life. But the later development can be described as a gradual decomposition of this harmony. A man starts to gradually separate from the myth, keeps his distance from it, subordinates it to exploration, which means – to logos. Particularly in Hellenism, religion is more and more identified with the rational logos and because of that the problem with interpretation of older mythical ideas of quarrelsome jealous and trivial gods becomes more and more urgent.

This process leads to...

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