Hermeneutics as Politics / Edition 2

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Hermeneutics as Politics, perhaps the most important critique of post-modern thought ever written, is here reissued in a special fifteenth anniversary edition. In a new foreword, Robert B. Pippin argues that the book has rightfully achieved the status of a classic. Rosen illuminates the underpinnings of post-modernist thought, providing valuable insight as he pursues two arguments: first, that post-modernism, which regards itself as an attack upon the Enlightenment, is in fact merely a continuation of Enlightenment thought; and second, that the extraordinary contemporary emphasis upon hermeneutics is the latest consequence of the triumph of history over mathematics and science.

"Perhaps the most original and philosophically important critical account of hermeneutics-of its philosophical status and historical development-to appear since Gadamer's Truth and Method."-Choice

"A philosophical polemic of the highest order written in a language of unfailing verve and precision. . . . It will repay manyfold the labour of a slow and considered reading."-J. M. Coetzee, Upstream

Presenting hermeneutics as a fundamentally political phenomenon, Rosen combines exemplary scholarship with analytic precision to illuminate current critical thinking.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Perhaps the most original and philosophically important critical account of hermeneutics--of its philosophical status and historical development--to appear since Gadamer's Truth and Method....Rosen offers a bold, new interpretation of the relationship of postmodernism and postmodernist hermeneutics to the Enlightenment....A major contribution to the current discussion. Highly recommended."--Choice

"Stanley Rosen's essays are a unique combination of reasoned argument and passionate commitment which by their very example reaffirm the ties between philosophy and politics. This book will be important for anyone who is interested in challenging established dogmas about the nature of hermeneutics and the relationship between modernity and postmodernism."--Anthony J. Cascardi, University of California, Berkeley

"A philosophical polemic of the highest order written in a language of unfailing verve and precision....It will repay manyfold the labour of a slow and considered reading."--J.M. Coetzee, Upstream

"The pearl of the volume is the brilliant fourth chapter, which ties together the rise of modern scientific thinking, biblical hermeneutics and post-Kantian philosophy in a manner which poignantly shows how the history of modern philosophy has led to a situation in which all thinking is hermeneutical thinking."--Critical Review

"Professor Rosen's profound gift to contemporary philosophy is the insight that while claiming to transcend Enlightenment rationalism, 'hermeneutical' interpretation is transcended by it; that to defeat historicism by an attempt to duplicate the ancients is itself to fall victim to historicism; that the Enlightenment provides the 'only solution to its own incoherence.' Rosen exemplifies the courage that he recognizes as central to the calling of philosophy. Rosen stands out among his contemporaries as a great philosopher in the great tradition of philosophy."--John Silber, Boston University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300099874
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 2/20/2003
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Pennsylvania State University
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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Transcendental Ambiguity: The Rhetoric of the Enlightenment 19
2 Platonic Reconstruction 50
3 Hermeneutics as Politics 87
4 Theory and Interpretation 141
5 Conversation or Tragedy 175
Notes 194
Index 209
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2003

    Rosen: Simply Essential For Our Times

    This books is and will remain a key text for those who intuit, who believe, that philosophy (poignantly described in the essay 'Platonic Re-construction' as 'the dream of wisdom') has not reached its end. Rosen's principle pre-occupation, here and in other works, lies with the possibility of philosophy in modernity. He thus shoots his guns at prominent 'scientistic' and hermeneutical-- read 'nihilistic'-- projects that saturate current academic philosophy. The fashionable hermeneutical systems of Derrida, Foucault, Habermas, and so on are addressed and challenged in these pages. I myself am a film studies student, and the mere fact that Rosen has been able to address issues of such a wide variety and such a deep level of urgency as to reach little old me over here in film studies shows the lasting value of this book. My reading of Rosen, which the philosopher himself I am sure would take offense to, is as a critic of contemporary philosophical and pseudo-philosophical movements. All of these criticisms find their grounding in Rosen's unique reading of Plato, whose Dialogues, Rosen argues, are said to be free from what others have termed a 'metaphysics of presence.' All of the essays compiled are stuffed with useful and timely insights, but two remain of use to me: his essay on Kant and the one entitled 'Theory and Interpretation.' In the first, a fascinating take on Kant's role in the shaping of modern hermeneutics, it is claimed that Kant's paradoxical 'mixing of oil and water,' or freedom and regulation, amounts in fact to a licensing of unruly spontaneity, which is a key ingredient in the perspectivism rampant in today's 'thought market.' What this results in is a collapsing of the very notion and possibility of theory, which seeks to understand our 'vision' of natural phenomena. If, as Kant argues, the world is 'made,' then the world is an interpretation, and deciding between two theories ultimately becomes a matter of interpretation as well. From here, we are a stone's throw away from the nihilistic resignation that holds that the world is a series of signs that do not signify to anything beyond themselves. Rosen's book answers a question I have long sought to answer: how, philosophically, does one reply to the claim that 'the world is a text' or 'il n'y a pas d'hors texte.' This is a claim that George Steiner struggles with in Real Presences. Rosen has the wisdom to respond to it, and this is its greatest achievement.

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