We have a fresh opportunity to reflect on Orientation and Judgment in Hermeneutics. At this point Rudolf Makkreel isn’t going to speak only about orientation and judgment, but he also speaks about Kant’s critical system.
Rudolf A. Makkreel
Rudolf A. Makkreel is the Charles Howard Candler professor emeritus of philosophy at Emory University. He is also the author of.
Dilthey: Philosopher of the Human Studies and Imagination and Interpretation in Kant and coeditor of the Princeton University Press six volume edition of Wilhelm Dilthey’s Selected Works. Five have been published so far.
His work has focused on the German philosophers Dilthey and Kant. Makkreel is perhaps best known for emphasizing the roles of the imagination, judgment and interpretation within Kant's critical system.
Some other themes that pervade Makkreel's writings include the difference between orientational and foundational principles as well as the relation between reflexive awareness and reflective consciousness.
He regards these distinctions as important for thinking about the human sciences and the problems of interpretation.
Q: You provide an innovative approach to meeting the challenges faced by philosophical hermeneutics in interpreting an ever-changing and multicultural world.
RM: WELL THANK YOU. WHAT I THINK IS INNOVATIVE ABOUT MY APPROACH IS THAT THE QUESTION HOW JUDGMENT SHOULD DEAL WITH PREJUDICE IS RELATED TO THE LARGER ISSUE OF CONTEXTUAL ORIENTATION. GADAMERIAN HERMENEUTICS PLACES TOO MUCH FAITH IN THE PREJUDICES OF THE GRECO-ROMAN TRADITION. INSTEAD OF GADAMER'S DIALOGICAL HERMENEUTICS WITHIN ONE TRADITION, I PROPOSE A MORE JUDGMENT-BASED DIAGNOSTIC APPROACH AMONG TRADITIONS. THIS IS THE PROBLEM OF MULTICULTURALISM. KANT'S UNIVERSAL APPROACH THAT STANDS ABOVE THE DIFFERENCES OF HISTORICAL TRADITIONS THEREFORE ALSO NEEDS TO BE REFINED. HIS VIEW THAT THE LEGITIMACY OF A CLAIM OR INTERPRETATION SHOULD PROGRESS FROM BEING UNILATERAL OR BILATERAL TO BEING OMNILATERAL, NEEDS TO ALSO MAKE ROOM FOR A MULTILATERAL ALTERNATIVE. LACKING AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING CONSENSUS WE NEED TO SETTLE FOR PARTIAL CONVERGENCES AND FIND WAYS TO NEGOTIATE THE REMAINING DIFFERENCES .
Q: I wonder how you develop overlooked resources of Kant’s .
RM: KANT HAS IMPORTANT THINGS TO SAY ABOUT ORIENTATION IN CONTEXTS WHERE WE DON'T HAVE FIRM KNOWLEDGE. AND HIS LECTURES ON LOGIC CONTAIN MANY DISCUSSIONS ABOUT HOW PREJUDICES SHOULD BE EXAMINED. THERE MAY BE TRUTHS EMBEDDED IN SOME PREJUDICES, BUT UNLESS WE TEST THEM IN RELATION TO OUR POWERS OF JUDGMENT AND REASON, WE MERELY LIVE OUR LIVES BASED ON PERSUASION DERIVED FROM OTHERS, NOT ON RATIONAL CONVICTION FOR WHICH WE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. TO BE SURE, THERE ARE LIMITS TO WHAT WE CAN KNOW BY MEANS OF THEORETICAL REASON, ESPECIALLY ABOUT THE DIVINE. HERE KANT RELIES ON OUR MORAL REASON TO ORIENT OUR BELIEFS .
Q: Professor, you offer a promising way of thinking about the shifting contexts that we bring to bear on interpretations of all kinds, could you elaborate on that, please?
RM: I THINK HERMENEUTICS IS NOT MERELY ABOUT THE INTERPRETATION OF TEXTS. IT MUST HELP US INTERRELATE THE VARIOUS CONTEXTUAL SOURCES OF OUR EXPERIENCE. WE ASSIMILATE MANY THINGS FROM OUR LOCAL SURROUNDINGS AS WE GROW UP. THROUGH THE SCIENCES AND OTHER ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES WE ACQUIRE A MORE UNIVERSAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE WORLD THAT IS ON THE LEVEL OF CONCEPTUAL COGNITION. BUT THE CLARIFICATIONS OF THE VARIOUS SCIENCES CAN ALSO FRAGMENT THINGS. SO THERE NEEDS TO BE A THIRD APPROPRIATIVE LEVEL WHERE WE MUST JUDGE HOW THINGS FIT TOGETHER AS IN A WORLD-VIEW. IT IS THIS KIND OF KNOWLEDGE THAT HERMENEUTICS MUST AIM AT. THIS INVOLVES A GRADUAL PROCESS WHEREBY WE REVISE AND REFINE OUR ORIGINAL VIEWS .
Q: What about your unified vision of hermeneutics in its philosophical context and of hermeneutics in its historical development?
RM: HERMENEUTICS MUST ENCOMPASS THESE THREE LEVELS OF 1) CONTEXTUAL AND HISTORICAL ASSIMILATION WHERE PREJUDICES TEND TO PLAY A LARGE ROLE, 2) COGNITIVE ACQUISITION WHERE THEORETICAL DETERMINANT JUDGMENTS PREDOMINATE, AND FINALLY 3) AN EVALUATIVE APPROPRIATION OF IT ALL BY MEANS OF REFLECTIVE JUDGMENTS THAT PRODUCE A KIND OF OVERALL KNOWLEDGE.
Q: In the first chapter, 'Philosophical Hermeneutics, professor, you draw together Dilthey and Heidegger, didn’t you?
RM: I CLAIM THAT DILTHEY'S HERMENEUTICAL APPROACH IS NOT MERELY EPISTEMOLOGICAL AS ASSUMED BY HEIDEGGER. DILTHEY ANTICIPATED MANY INSIGHTS OF HEIDEGGER'S ONTOLOGICAL APPROACH. I SHOW THIS BY ARGUING THAT THE COGNITION-KNOWLEDGE DISTINCTION I MADE ABOVE IS THERE IN DILTHEY, BUT NOT MADE AS EXPLICITLY AS I TRY TO MAKE IT. COGNITION IS EPISTEMICALLY IMPERSONAL, BUT KNOWLEDGE REQUIRES AN EXISTENTIAL ASSENT .
Q: I'd like to know how Makkreel engages directly with Kant in the process of setting out his positive account of hermeneutics .
RM: MY CONCEPTION OF REFLECTIVE KNOWLEDGE IS HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY KANT'S THEORY OF REFLECTIVE JUDGMENT FROM HIS AESTHETICS. IN MY EARLIER BOOK IMAGINATION AND INTERPRETATION IN KANT I ARGUED THAT BECAUSE AESTHETIC JUDGMENTS ARE REFLECTIVE JUDGMENTS, THEY ARE INTERPRETIVE. I HAVE SHOWN THAT KANT'S DETERMINANT-REFLECTIVE JUDGMENT DISTINCTION IS SIMILAR TO THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN EXPLANATION AND INTERPRETIVE UNDERSTANDING THAT DILTHEY USES TO CONTRAST THE NATURAL AND HUMAN SCIENCES. IN THIS BOOK I EXPAND ON IDEAS FROM BOTH KANT AND DILTHEY TO CONFRONT OUR MORE CURRENT PROBLEMS. BUT NOT EVERYTHING IS BASED ON THEM. THE ASSIMILATION, ACQUISITION, APPROPRIATION DISTINCTION IS MY OWN FOR INSTANCE. I THINK IT IS USEFUL FOR EXPANDING IDEAS THAT WERE DEVELOPED IN ONE SPECIFIC CONTEXT IN ORDER TO ASSESS THEIR RELEVANCE FOR ANOTHER MORE CURRENT CONTEXT .
I HOPE THESE RESPONSES ARE HELPFUL. I GIVE A FULLER OVERVIEW IN THE INTRODUCTION OF ORIENTATION AND JUDGMENT IN HERMENEUTICS.
AbdalRahman: I'd like to express our thanks and gratitude to you, professor.
Rudolf A. Makkreel: YOU ARE WELCOME AND BEST REGARDS
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