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Lawrence K. Schmidt

Gadamer's philosophic hermeneutics raises the question concerning which of several conflicting interpretations is more accurate. Since the cognizer's Vorurteile (pre-judgements) necessarily effect the resulting interpretation, the problem is the legitimization of Vorurteile within understanding. Through an analysis of the structures of effective historical consciousness and an examination of the process of understanding within the hermeneutic situation, it is argued that Gadamer is able to avoid the problem of indeterminacy by implicity presenting a hermeneutic truth criterion. This criterion, it is argued, is the einleuchtende Ansicht der Sache selbst (the enlightening perspective of the subjectmatter itself). This permits the identification of a linguistically and historically bounded truth within the temporal limits of human consciousness.
Contents: Among other topics: The problem of legitimate interpretations in philosophic hermeneutics - The concept of Vorurteil - The structures of effective historical consciousness - Language as the medium of understanding - A hermeneutic truth criterion.