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Philosophical Heuristics

Translated by Ben Koschalka


Jan Hartman

«Philosophical Heuristics» aims to translate philosophical issues into meta-philosophical issues examined from a unique perspective. The analytical and interpretive practice of heuristics seeks to grasp synchronously all the processes leading to the formation of philosophical discourse, its language, form and content. The book takes hermeneutics and pragmatism as a starting point for a multifaceted and systematic examination of philosophical heuresis and promotes a style of philosophising «in the suspense of heuristic reflection», something more than ordinary theoretical self-awareness.
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5. Hermeneutic Thinking


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5.  Hermeneutic Thinking

5.1  Problems with Talking about Hermeneutics

More so than other types of philosophical thinking, hermeneutic thinking has its own “spirit”. It is a tradition that consistently follows increasingly higher forms of self-reflection and self-knowledge. More significant, though, is the fact that the romantic search in every cultural formation for its own central idea is an important element in the history of hermeneutic tradition (albeit one negated by this tradition itself). As a result, the very knowledge developed by hermeneutics assumes the form of the creation of a certain kind of spirit. If even hermeneutics evades the historiosophical totalisation of the spirit and historistic objectivisation of the “spirits” of various times and traditions, and invokes the pragmatic concepts of wholeness, like life, language, or communication community, then hermeneutics cannot be understood without grasping the scientific mentality from which it derives and which supports it – a mentality containing elements of historiosophy and psychologism. Does hermeneutic thinking not deserve that minimal amount of generosity and obedience on the part of science to try to refer to it in the same way that it itself suggests that we reflect on cultural messages? If we are to agree with this postulate, we ought to consider the psychological understanding of mentality, which hermeneutic thinking once held dear – although it was discredited as psychologism – and understanding of hermeneutics as a specific historic tradition. We ought also to be open to the hermeneutic question of how deeply...

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