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Genealogy, Narrative History, and Hermeneutic Transmission

Genealogy, Narrative History, and Hermeneutic Transmission

(p.175) Chapter 8 Genealogy, Narrative History, and Hermeneutic Transmission
Orientation and Judgment in Hermeneutics
Rudolf A. Makkreel
University of Chicago Press

Chapter 8 considers how a reflective hermeneutical approach to history compares with some of the narrative and genealogical conceptions of history that have played such an important role in the second half of the twentieth century. The distinct philosophies of life of Nietzsche and Dilthey are used as the basis for two types of narrative theory. The former stresses genealogical discontinuities and the latter generative continuities. A hermeneutic critique is able to acknowledge discontinuous contexts without assuming that they are always incommensurable and it can search for continuities that are more than narrational and extend beyond local commonalities. What the genealogical, narrative and hermeneutic approaches to history have in common is that they raise questions about the role of determinant causal explanations in making sense of historical change. But whereas the genealogical and narrative approaches are predominantly interested in finding alternative types of explanation, a reflective hermeneutical approach is also willing to consider to what extent causal explanations may still be possible with the proviso that any type of historical explanation must be framed by some kind of understanding

Keywords:   Nietzsche, Foucault, Dilthey, narrative theory, genealogy, transmission, causal and non-causal explanation, understanding, Von Wright

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