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Book description

Through a detailed study of Herder's Enlightenment thought, especially his philosophy of literature, Kristin Gjesdal offers a new and sometimes provocative reading of the historical origins and contemporary challenges of modern hermeneutics. She shows that hermeneutic philosophy grew out of a historical, anthropological, and poetic discourse in the mid-eighteenth century and argues that, as such, it represents a rich, stimulating, and relevant engagement with the potentials and limits of human meaning and understanding. Gjesdal's study broadens our conception of hermeneutic philosophy - the issues it raises and the answers it offers - and underlines the importance of Herder's contribution to the development of this discipline. Her book will be highly valuable for students and scholars of eighteenth-century thought, especially those working in the fields of hermeneutics, aesthetics, and European philosophy.


'Herder’s Hermeneutic Philosophy is an important contribution to our understanding of hermeneutics as a peculiarly historical mode of philosophical practice. Gjesdal lucidly demonstrates the implications that Herder’s focus on the historical dimension of language and culture has for philosophy itself, with hermeneutics emerging as a way of philosophising with particular relevance for today.'

Paul Redding - University of Sydney

'What distinguishes Gjesdal’s approach from the existing body of scholarship is the meticulous attention she pays to the origins, transdisciplinary directions, and educational objectives of Herder’s hermeneutics … It makes a major contribution to our improved understanding of a key eighteenth-century figure whose wide-ranging intellectual output and contemporary relevance deserve a much broader English-speaking audience.'

Ulrike Wagner Source: Monatshefte

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