2004 | 13 | 4(52) | 303-318
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Kant and Hermeneutics

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The paper focuses on the relationship between Kant's transcendental philosophy and the 20th century hermeneutics. It is true that the vigorous development of mainstream transcendentalism is due to such great figures in German classical philosophy as Fichte, Schelling and Hegel. At the same time, however, one of Kant's students, J.G. Herder, pointed to some shortcomings in Kant's philosophy, and created an alternative philosophical project by referring to historical, cultural and bodily underpinnings of the human existence. In Herder's view, human condition is determined by practical life interests and by communicative (language) structures. These insights have been further developed by Nietzsche and Dilthey, and after some time by Heidegger with his fundamental ontology and by Gadamer with his philosophical hermeneutics. These two philosophers built their views on the contribution that had been made by Dilthey. It is interesting to note that each of the three followers of Kant have relied on his philosophy in a different way - Dilthey to create an epistemological perspective, Heidegger an ontological one and Gadamer a multifaceted perspective that combines communication, life practice and ethics. These influences are quite widespread. The three philosophers profess an activistic conception of reason, initially discussed and developed by Kant. They also endorse the idea of an a priori conceptual scheme that precedes cognition and understanding of the world. But the ahistorical interpretation of reason characteristically detectable in the network of logical categories is replaced by the concept of protostructure of understanding with the constitutive role of language as a medium of human being-in-the-world. These developments explain how the hermeneutic project has facilitated the transition from Kantian transcendentalism to the linguistic turn.
  • A. Przylebski, Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza, Instytut Filozofii, ul. Szamarzewskiego 89 C, 60-569 Poznan, Poland
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