Anglo-European Philosophies and Critical Dialogue: Hermeneutics and Beyond
- Module Code:
- Year of study:
- Year 2, Year 3 or Year 4
- Taught in:
- Full Year
Objectives and learning outcomes of the module
On successful completion of the course, you should:
- Have acquired a sound knowledge of core debates and key thinkers in philosophical hermeneutics.
- Have acquired a familiarity with the relationship between understanding, interpretation, voice, speech, and knowledge.
- Have understood the ways in which voice, interpretation, translation, and dialogue (or its refusal) are both ontological and political acts.
- Be able to assess critically the limits of the philosophical hermeneutic tradition and theories of dialogue from a variety of critical (feminist, critical race and post- or decolonial) perspectives.
- Be able to evaluate critically a variety of books, journals and other sources of information relevant to the topics studied on the course;
- Have produced detailed written work on a number of approved topics relevant to the course;
- Have developed core skills in evaluation, self-reflection, team work, and presentation.
Scope and syllabus
The first term will be focused on an examination of philosophical hermeneutics that have promoted inter-philosophical dialogue and which have theorised the nature of understanding and interpretation as objects of philosophical interest and practice. Among the philosophers we will investigate are Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Gadamer, Ricoeur, and Vattimo but we will be doing so thematically (looking at how philosophical hermeneutics examines questions of understanding, authority, knowledge, subjectivity, truth, sense and meaning, dialogue etc.). We will focus particularly on the extent to which their insights regarding the possibility of understanding among and between different philosophical traditions are viable. Once this groundwork is laid, in the second term we begin the task of critique and reformulation, examining the extent to which the apparent openness to dialogue promoted by these thinkers is undermined by the exclusions and normative assumptions (for example, of the universal nature of understanding) that their philosophies of dialogue and understanding may enact and sustain. Thus, we will turn to examine feminist, critical-race, and both postcolonial and decolonial challenges to and critiques of hermeneutics, looking, for example, at the work of Kristeva, Butler, and Cavarero, bell hooks, Lorde, Spivak, Bhabha, Mignolo, Dussell and Ouijano. In this portion of the course we will highlight in particular questions concerning the political dimensions of voice, speech, and silence, and of translation and understanding, the role of the ‘master’s voice’ in determining the limits of speech and understanding, and what may be at stake in moments where the refusal of dialogue is a necessary and productive gesture of resistance to normative configurations that trap interlocutors in a colonialist practice of monolingualism that repeats and consolidates the chauvinism and Eurocentrism that plagues philosophy.
Method of assessment
60% of the total mark is allocated to 4 detailed outlines of assigned readings (15% each)
Creative portfolio 40% of the total mark is allocated to the production of a summative group portfolio intended to enable you to demonstrate skills in critical reflection, communication, and imaginative interpretation.