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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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7. Hermeneutics of Romanticism


The changeover from the Enlightenment to Romanticism is characterised by a great discontinuity. We can say that the 19th century is separated from the Enlightenment by a rupture. The half-century, which divides Meier from Schleichmacher, looks, for philosophical hermeneutics, like a precipice. It is a case of a turning point, which was caused by the works of Immanuel Kant. What happened then? Rationalism, which was supported by Dannhauer, Spinoza, Chladenius, or Meier, collapsed. Kant’s critique of reason paradoxically led to the conquest of reason. A world order, which was seen as a priori in the light of reason itself, was ascribed with validity for only the world of phenomena. The world itself started to disappear into unknowability. The split of the phenomenal side of something and the thing itself is the basic source of Romanticism. Each approach ← 39 | 40 → to the world functions here as a subjective interpretation which necessarily has to begin with a subject, with its inherent a priori. A non-problematic approach to the world, which took into account metaphysical causality, suddenly collapsed. Understandably, many authors suffering from the loss of their world reacted with an attempt to go beyond the collapse towards the world of the past, where harmony, universality and unity of the phenomenal and the metaphysical reigned. This reawakened romanticising fascination of the Greek world came from this transfer which can be seen in the works of Goethe, Schiller, Wickelmann, the Schlegel brothers, Novalis, Herder, and von Humboldt. A romantic attempt to bring...

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