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Created:August 6, 2002
Latest Update: August 6, 2002

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Critical Hermeneutics

Teaching Module Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individaul Authors, August 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.

This essay is based on a review of J.B. Thompson's Criitical Hermeneutics. Backup.

This review is included because some of you will later come across the writings of Ricoeur and Wittgenstein, and will want to place both within the larger framework of sociology. Maybe over the next ten months we can get to that, but there's no time today with Fall classes to prepare. But this review should give you a good starting place.

I particularly like that Thompson seems to build a coherent framework relating Wittgenstein the philosopher, to Ricoeur and Habermas. He stresses, according to this Cambridge catalogue piece the interest that all three shared in language and compares their different approaches: philosophy of language, hermeneutics, and critical theory. He also differentiates their approaches in terms that our discussions have touched on: "For whereas ordinary language philosophers tend to treat linguistic activity as the ultimate object of inquiry, both Ricoeur and Habermas regard it as a medium which betrays more fundamental dimensions of human experience and the social world."

Anthony Giddens wrote the Foreword.