Gadamer's Rhetorical Conception of Hermeneutics as the Key to Developing a Critical Hermeneutics
24 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2008 Last revised: 30 Jan 2013
Date Written: December 14, 2008
The rhetorical dimensions of Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics have not been fully developed by his commentators, resulting in an overly conservative rendering of his philosophy. Drawing out the rhetorical features of his work, we find that Gadamer regards textual interpretation as a rhetorical accomplishment. This characterization leads to a rich conception of critical hermeneutics. The article develops Gadamer's rhetorical hermeneutics by contrasting his approach with Paul Ricoeur's famous intervention in the Gadamer-Habermas debate, and looks to Gadamer's account of legal practice as a manifestation of critical hermeneutics in action.
Keywords: Rhetoric, Hermeneutics, Critical Theory, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, Legal theory
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