On Gadamerian Hermeneutics: Fusions of Horizons, Dialogue, and Evolution(s) within Culture as Dynamic System of Meaning

Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 4 (4):45-62 (2020)
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Culture as a dynamic system of meaningful relations can naturally accommodate a hermeneutic analysis. In this essay, the notion of Gadamer’s hermeneutics as involving interpretable meaning throughout experiential reality permits a natural concordance with an understanding of culture as meaningful. The Gadamerian idea that prejudices inform the horizons that make our experiences intelligible is applied to the view that culture is both a self-enclosed structure that is given by one’s horizon and one that continuously points past this horizon in genuine dialogue. Nevertheless, in seeing culture as a coherent system that transcends itself, we are consequently faced with a dilemma regarding the evolution of one’s cultural horizons: whether past horizons can survive the creation of novel ones through dialogue. However, this may be resolved through Gadamer’s understanding of the functions of sameness and difference within horizonal evolution, and how these functions feature in the distinction between a shared ontological ground and the horizons through which the ground is interpreted. Ultimately, we showcase how it is noncontradictory to suppose that culture is both self- and other-referential.

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