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A Reflective and Diagnostic Critique

A Reflective and Diagnostic Critique

(p.146) Chapter 7 A Reflective and Diagnostic Critique
Orientation and Judgment in Hermeneutics
Rudolf A. Makkreel
University of Chicago Press

Chapter 7 explores the theme of a critical hermeneutics by distinguishing three forms of critique: constitutive, regulative and reflective. Starting with the primary model of a constitutive or foundational critique as exemplified by Kant and Dilthey, it moves on to consider the emancipatory ideas of critique advanced by Habermas and Ricoeur. Because they place hermeneutics in relation to the goal of non-distorted communication, their idea of critique is regulative in that concepts needed for ordinary understanding are extended beyond their normal scope and used to project ideal limits. Whereas regulative ideas are expansive by making hypothetical objective claims, reflection and reflective judgment have the inverse function of specifying their subjective relevance. Accordingly, a reflective critique is proposed that can relate general cognitive conditions and rational ends to what is specific to the situational contexts of the interpreter and the interpreted. Hermeneutics requires a judgment-centered critique that is reflectively oriented to regulative ideals without being determinantly directed by them. Instead of treating ideals as legislative for some abstract domain, we will regard them as self-prescriptive guidelines for interpreting the territory of human experience.

Keywords:   Habermas, Ricoeur, critique, reflection, reflective judgment, reflexive awareness, explanation, understanding

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