Hermeneutics as philosophy of action


A challenge to hermeneutics in our world of textuality which surpasses itself, hyper-textuality, is for it to become a philosophy beyond mere words on a page, to move beyond interpretation, and arbitration of meaning. It must become properly creative, it must be a philosophy of possibility, rather than a philosophy of possible alternatives. It should give us a way to deal with new information, new technologies, new techniques.

In part, this ability to deal with novelty, with the new, being a philosophy of possibility is the challenge to deal with the threat of Thrasymachus. This is the threat that words, language, ideas can be overcome by an appeal to violence, be it physical or ideological. We need hermeneutics to be that philosophy which is resilient by virtue of its historical and contextual awareness, and yet also capable of leading us beyond the threat or the actuality of violence.

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The validity of analogy

Whenever I hear or read something along the lines of “well, that’s like saying …” uttered as a throwaway put-down, without exception I find myself silently responding “no it fucking well isn’t.” I have a huge problem with people using analogy in the realm of argument, because it seems to fundamentally misunderstand what analogy is for, and as a consequence it misapplies it. One problem here is that most assume all discourse takes place within the same logical realm. What this doesn’t allow is that the lines between rhetoric and philosophy are fluid, and accordingly their respective logics may mix though without attention being drawn to this. Continue reading