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Naturalistic Hermeneutics Hardcover – March 14, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0521848121 ISBN-10: 0521848121
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Since the Second World War,German hermeneutic philosophy has achieved great influence, not only in Europe, but also in Anglo-Saxon countries. Mantzavinos has subject this tradition to an in-depth and sweeping critique, and, beyond that, developed a naturalistic hermeneutics, which is capable of adequately solving problems of meaning. This book is the most important new contribution to the analysis of these problems that I have read thus far. It is indispensable for any seminar on the problems of hermeneutics." Hans Albert, Heidelberg

"I took pleaure in Mantzavinos' approach to Dilthey, Heidegger and Gadamer: he contrasts what they promise with what they deliver. This paves the way for the constructive part of the book, where the hypothetico-deductive method is applied to explain action and interpret texts. A convincing case is thereby made for the book's main conclusion: that although there are many differences between the social sciences, the humanities and the natural sciences, they all share the use of a method that was first employed in the natural sciences. Hence the titl: Naturalistic Hermeneutics." Dagfinn Follesdal, Oslo and Stanford

Book Description

Naturalistic Hermeneutics proposes the position of the unity of scientific method, defending it against the claim to autonomy of the human sciences. Mantzavinos shows how materials that are 'meaningful', more specifically human actions and texts, can be adequately dealt with through a hypothetico-deductive method.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (March 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521848121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521848121
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,577,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. Carlsson on August 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because it was advertised on the back cover as an "in-depth and sweeping critique" of German hermeneutic philosophy (Gadamer and Heidegger in particular). Allegedly, a naturalistic hermeneutic is developed in this book as an alternative to traditional hermeneutics.

After reading the book, it is incomprehensible to me how anyone could call this feeble piece of work an "in-depth" critique. The author presents a personal, stripped-down version of Gadamer's philosophy which bares little resemblance to the original. Then he promptly proceeds to refute this straw-man argument, all within the space of 20 short pages. Later on, he laments how his straw-man arguments "possess a very low problem-solving capacity" (p.155). I definitely agree with that assessment.

As for "naturalistic hermeneutics", after reading this book I have no idea what this term is supposed to mean. In presenting it the author discusses theories for apprehending human actions and texts by hypotheses and empirical confirmation. Frankly, I didn't read this part of the book very carefully but I do know that this is not hermeneutic philosophy.

This seems to be the key problem with this book. Either the author doesn't understand what hermeneutic philosophy is or he regards it with such contempt that he refuses to allow any validity to its basic tenets. Because of this the book contains no constructive arguments at all. The author believes that Heidegger and Gadamer have proposed a "hermeneutic method" for problem-solving, but such a view is repeatedly denied by Gadamer in his hermeneutic works. Therefore, this alleged critique of hermeneutics is worthless and the alternative theory can not by any stretch of the imagination be called "naturalistic hermeneutics".
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Naturalistic Hermeneutics
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