Difference between revisions of "Qualifying Exams - Philosophical Ethics"

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===Discuss the concerns that motivated Gadamer in Truth and Method to radically depart from the earlier traditions in the field of hermeneutics, and instead to explore the problem of understanding from the perspective of practical philosophy.===
 
===Discuss the concerns that motivated Gadamer in Truth and Method to radically depart from the earlier traditions in the field of hermeneutics, and instead to explore the problem of understanding from the perspective of practical philosophy.===
 
====Introduction====
 
====Introduction====
#Gadamer dedicates an entire chapter of Truth and Method to the thought of earlier scholars working in the area of philosophical hermeneutics. In particular, he addresses the work of Schleiermacher, Dilthey, and Droysen.
+
#In explicating the influences that guided his work in ''Truth and Method'' Gadamer claims:
#In this chapter he explores the accounts of hermeneutics these figures provided, focusing in particular on (1) their view of the role of ''historical consciousness'' in the interpretation of texts or works of art and (2) the attention they play to the ''methods'' appropriate to discovering the meaning of texts or works of art.
+
#*"Insofar as they are my constant companions, I have been formed more by the Platonic dialogues than by the great thinkers of German Idealism." (76:25)
#His focus here is highly revealing, though. Gadamer's explicit aim in ''Truth and Method'' is to develop his own account of hermeneutics. But his account of his predecessors in the field of hermeneutics reveals that while he is taking up some of the same problems involved in encountering a text, his ''Truth and Method'' is no mere evolutionary step in the field of hermeneutics. Rather, ''Truth and Method'' is a radical departure from the field that had previously been labeled hermeneutics.
+
#There are numerous pieces of evidence that may cause this claim to ring false. For example, Gadamer has elsewhere noted a continuity between his early development and that of nineteenth-century German philosophy, with its genealogical path starting with the German Idealists with Schleiermacher, and then continuing on to Dilthey, to Husserl, and finally to Gadamer's own teacher, Heidegger.
#In fact, ''Truth and Method'' is not a book really ''about'' the interpretation of texts or works of art, despite evidence in the table of contents to the contrary. Rather, ''Truth and Method'' is a book about understanding itself - about the "event" of understanding.
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#We can note also that Plato receives only rare attention in ''Truth and Method'', while a whole chapter (over 90 pages) is dedicated to an account of German philosophical hermeneutics reaching from Schleiermacher to Heidegger.
#In this way, Gadamer is taking his departure not from the field of hermeneutics, but is rather addressing the topic of hermeneutics from within the tradition of practical philosophy.
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#Behind these superficial pieces of evidence, and indeed despite the simple question of which figures were most important in forming Gadamer's thought, is the more complex truth that Gadamer is engaged with the questions concerns of a wide range of thinkers. His texts often move across periods and nationalities, from figure to figure, as he engages a string of related concerns.
#In this paper, I will address the question of which intellectual tradition provides the foundation for Gadamer's ''Truth and Method.'' What is the tradition whose effect (wirkung) provides the backdrop for Gadamer's account of hermeneutical consciousness?
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#The question of which school or tradition can claim Gadamer, then, seems to provide little help in understanding ''Truth and Method''. A much more fruitful way to place this text in context is to ask how the dialogues of Plato and the thought of the German Idealists have been "effective" in Gadamer's thought, as articulated in ''Truth and Method.''
#In order order to answer this question, I will begin by clarifying how Gadamer interprets the accounts of hermeneutics provided by, in particular, Schleiermacher and Droysen. Of particular interest in this section will be the features of these accounts that draw his attention: What questions is he asking when encountering their work? What do these questions indicate about his concerns?
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#In this lecture I will clarify how Gadamer places himself into the intellectual tradition concerned with the topic of hermeneutics by exploring how he engages with the philosophical hermeneutics of one German Idealist, Friedrich Schleiermacher. In particular, I will attend to those concerns of Schleiermacher's that Gadamer takes up polemically: ''historical consciousness'', and the role of ''methods''.
#Next, I will explore what Gadamer has to say in both ''Truth and Method'' and his shorter works about the ways in which his aims align with those of practical philosophy, and how this tradition informs his thought.
+
#We will find that Gadamer's focus here is highly revealing. His explicit aim in ''Truth and Method'' is to develop his own account of hermeneutics. But his account of his predecessors in the field of hermeneutics, Schleiermacher in particular, reveals that ''Truth and Method'' is no evolutionary step in the field of hermeneutics. Rather, ''Truth and Method'' is a radical departure in work centered on hermeneutics.
#I will argue that while Gadamer simultaneously negotiates and responds to the concerns and claims of a wide range of scholars, his work falls primarily within the tradition of practical philosophy.
+
#I will show that Gadamer's constructive work in hermeneutics, which I will take up in more detail in a future lecture, emerges from the effect (wirkung) of Plato's dialogues on Gadamer's thought. In this section, I will address two related motifs that Gadamer appropriates from Platonic dialogues, Socratic ignorance and the priority of the question.
 +
#My aim is to substantiate Gadamer's claim. While he does engage polemically with German Idealists and other participants in the discourse on hermeneutics, his constructive work places him within a tradition with its roots in Greek philosophy, a tradition he identifies as practical philosophy.
 +
 
 
====Part One====
 
====Part One====
 
=====Schleiermacher=====
 
=====Schleiermacher=====

Revision as of 16:40, 22 November 2011

Contextual

Discuss the concerns that motivated Gadamer in Truth and Method to radically depart from the earlier traditions in the field of hermeneutics, and instead to explore the problem of understanding from the perspective of practical philosophy.

Introduction

  1. In explicating the influences that guided his work in Truth and Method Gadamer claims:
    • "Insofar as they are my constant companions, I have been formed more by the Platonic dialogues than by the great thinkers of German Idealism." (76:25)
  2. There are numerous pieces of evidence that may cause this claim to ring false. For example, Gadamer has elsewhere noted a continuity between his early development and that of nineteenth-century German philosophy, with its genealogical path starting with the German Idealists with Schleiermacher, and then continuing on to Dilthey, to Husserl, and finally to Gadamer's own teacher, Heidegger.
  3. We can note also that Plato receives only rare attention in Truth and Method, while a whole chapter (over 90 pages) is dedicated to an account of German philosophical hermeneutics reaching from Schleiermacher to Heidegger.
  4. Behind these superficial pieces of evidence, and indeed despite the simple question of which figures were most important in forming Gadamer's thought, is the more complex truth that Gadamer is engaged with the questions concerns of a wide range of thinkers. His texts often move across periods and nationalities, from figure to figure, as he engages a string of related concerns.
  5. The question of which school or tradition can claim Gadamer, then, seems to provide little help in understanding Truth and Method. A much more fruitful way to place this text in context is to ask how the dialogues of Plato and the thought of the German Idealists have been "effective" in Gadamer's thought, as articulated in Truth and Method.
  6. In this lecture I will clarify how Gadamer places himself into the intellectual tradition concerned with the topic of hermeneutics by exploring how he engages with the philosophical hermeneutics of one German Idealist, Friedrich Schleiermacher. In particular, I will attend to those concerns of Schleiermacher's that Gadamer takes up polemically: historical consciousness, and the role of methods.
  7. We will find that Gadamer's focus here is highly revealing. His explicit aim in Truth and Method is to develop his own account of hermeneutics. But his account of his predecessors in the field of hermeneutics, Schleiermacher in particular, reveals that Truth and Method is no evolutionary step in the field of hermeneutics. Rather, Truth and Method is a radical departure in work centered on hermeneutics.
  8. I will show that Gadamer's constructive work in hermeneutics, which I will take up in more detail in a future lecture, emerges from the effect (wirkung) of Plato's dialogues on Gadamer's thought. In this section, I will address two related motifs that Gadamer appropriates from Platonic dialogues, Socratic ignorance and the priority of the question.
  9. My aim is to substantiate Gadamer's claim. While he does engage polemically with German Idealists and other participants in the discourse on hermeneutics, his constructive work places him within a tradition with its roots in Greek philosophy, a tradition he identifies as practical philosophy.

Part One

Schleiermacher
Droysen
Historical Consciousness: Meaning vs. Truth
Method

Part Two

Scriptural and Legal Hermeneutics
Hermeneutics as Practical Philosophy
Cartesian Anxiety

Analytical

Discuss the influence of Aristotle and Aristotelian ethics on Gadamer’s thought. Address in particular the relationship between Aristotle’s virtue of practical rationality and Gadamer’s account of practical philosophy.

Analyze Gadamer’s account of the relationship between tradition and effective history (Wirkungsgeschichte), and the relationship of these to his account of hermeneutic understanding.

Normative

Write an essay in which you critically apply Gadamer’s insights to a particular case in medical or clinical ethics.

Syllabus

Construct a syllabus and bibliography for a course you would be prepared to facilitate on Hermaneutics and Practical Ethics.