The Task of Hermeneutics

  • Günter Figal


Philosophical hermeneutics, as it was founded and elaborated by Hans-Georg Gadamer, has been focused on the experience of understanding and thus has been existential. In contrast to that, I argue for a conception of hermeneutics that is oriented to the objects of interpretation and understanding and thus is “objective” in character. Philosophical hermeneutics conceived in this way is normative in that it sets up hermeneutical objects such as texts, images or pieces of music as a measure for the adequacy and inadequacy of understanding. What is to be interpreted and understood adequately is what I intend to explain as the “primordial meaning” of a hermeneutical object.


Download data is not yet available.


Figal, G. (2010). Verstehen, Verdacht, Kritik. In Id., Verstehensfragen. Studien zur phänomenologisch-hermeneutischen Philosophie. Tübingen: J. C. Mohr, 211–222.
Figal, G. (2018). Gegenständlichkeit. Das Hermeneutische und die Philosophie. Second, revised edition. Tübingen [2006]; tr. en.: Objectivity: The Hermeneutical and Philosophy. Trans. by Theodore George. Albany (NY): State University of New York Press, 2010.
Gadamer, H.-G. (1986). Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik. Hermeneutik I, Gesammelte Werke 1. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 317–329.
Ricoeur, P. (1965). De l’interprétation. Essai sur Freud. Paris: Seuil.
How to Cite
Figal, G. (2023). The Task of Hermeneutics. Critical Hermeneutics, 6(2), 17-33.