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Validity, Legitimacy, and Historical Attribution

Validity, Legitimacy, and Historical Attribution

(p.116) Chapter 6 Validity, Legitimacy, and Historical Attribution
Orientation and Judgment in Hermeneutics
Rudolf A. Makkreel
University of Chicago Press

At its most basic level, historical understanding can be considered to be an assimilative experience of our heritage. It is like outer experience in being about something other, and like inner experience in assenting to something we identify with. Yet it is more than either inner or outer experience by also consenting to a pre-given meaning of things. An outer experience acknowledges things as having their independent existence in nature. An assimilative experience acknowledges things as deriving their sense from a pre-existing meaning-context to which we still belong. Historical interpretation is concerned with the further question of the cognitive acquisition of what has been assimilated and whether it can be legitimately appropriated. This raises normative issues which also arise when trying to make sense of the “attributive” modes of imputation found in historical writings. Such attributions indicate how we hold ourselves and others accountable for our practical decisions and deeds as human agents operating within the constraints of the social and cultural systems that surround us.

Keywords:   assimilation, acquisition, appropriation, legitimacy, authenticity, Kant, Dilthey

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