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Günter Figal’s Hermeneutics



This article offers a survey of some main ideas in Günter Figal’s hermeneutics as he presents them in his recent Gegenständlichkeit: Das Hermeneutische und die Philosophie [Objectivity: The Hermeneutical and Philosophy]. Figal promises a new approach to the philosophical study of hermeneutics in this work that would advance beyond Gadamer, Heidegger, and others in significant respects. His project opens out from the belief that hermeneutical experience is guided by exteriority; such experience is directed toward and sustained by what stands outside the subject and its sphere, or, as he develops this idea, by what is objective (das Gegenständliche). His orientation toward this sense of objectivity leads him to establish a notion of hermeneutical philosophy based on novel views of interpretation and understanding. This discussion reveals that hermeneutical philosophy belongs in the world, taken as hermeneutical space organized by the dimensions of freedom, language, and time. His hermeneutics culminates in an elucidation of human life as it is lived in this space.

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