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Politics, Hermeneutics, and Truth


Malpas, J and Malpas, N, Politics, Hermeneutics, and Truth, Making Communism Hermeneutical: Reading Vattimo and Zabala, Springer International Publishing AG, S Mazzini and O Glyn-Williams (ed), Cham, pp. 19-29. ISBN 978-3-319-59021-9 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]

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Copyright 2017 Springer International Publishing AG

DOI: doi:10.1007/978-3-319-59021-9_3


The idea that hermeneutics has a positive political potential has not always been well-recognized. Yet if politics is understood as essentially constituted within a public space of negotiation and adjudication, then it is hard to see how politics could be anything but hermeneutical in character, nor could we avoid the conclusion that hermeneutical reflection must have a positive bearing on political discourse. Vattimo and Zabala’s idea of ‘hermeneutic communism’ not only draws the political and the hermeneutical together, but also shows how the resources of hermeneutic thinking can be brought to bear on contemporary forms of suffering, inequality and oppression. Vattimo and Zabala’s hermeneutic understanding of the political is premised, however, on the abandonment, not merely of a certain form of metaphysical thinking, but on the abandonment also of the concept of truth. Yet the rethinking of truth, and especially the critique of its metaphysical misinterpretations, has been at the heart of much of the development in hermeneutic thinking over the last century, such that it would seem that any genuinely hermeneutical rethinking of the political cannot be undertaken without recourse to truth. Indeed, it is precisely the retrieval of truth, rather than its abandonment, that must stand as the real basis for the sort of hermeneutic politics, or even the ‘hermeneutic communism’, that Vattimo and Zabala propose.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:politics, hermeneutics, truth
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Philosophy
Research Field:Hermeneutics
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in philosophy and religious studies
UTAS Author:Malpas, J (Professor Jeff Malpas)
ID Code:128645
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2018-10-04
Last Modified:2018-11-06

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