Newsletter of Phenomenology

Keeping phenomenologists informed since May 2002

Repository | Book | Chapter

What can philosophy of science learn from hermeneutics

and what can hermeneutics learn from philosophy of science? with an excursus on botticelli

Jan Faye

pp. 267-281

For a long time hermeneutics and phenomenology were the dominant positions in the philosophy of the humanities. Consequently objects of interpretation and understanding were denied an objective standing. Hence the validity of these constitutive acts of meaning depended on the historical situation of the interpreter and of the object of interpretation. In this paper I deny that this needs to be so. I do agree with the hermeneutic-phenomenological tradition that interpretation plays as significant a role in understanding objects of science as it does in understanding cultural objects. I propose a view of interpretation and understanding that rests on the idea that human cognition is a natural phenomenon. I therefore hold that the science of the humanities is not that different from other empirical sciences as long as we include human intentions as the core object of understanding. Based on these suggestions I conclude that there exists objective understanding in the humanities in the sense that the validity of an interpretation, no more than an explanation in the sciences, needs to depend on the interpreter's historical situation or personal affairs. At the end I use the interpretation of Botticelli's The Mystical Nativity as an example.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-01707-5_15

Full citation:

Faye, J. (2014)., What can philosophy of science learn from hermeneutics: and what can hermeneutics learn from philosophy of science? with an excursus on botticelli, in B. Babich & D. Ginev (eds.), The multidimensionality of hermeneutic phenomenology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 267-281.

This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.