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The Pursuit of Objectivity in Interpretation

Date & Time:
September 20, 2018 | 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
BI 587
Ron Bontekoe completed his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Toronto in 1988. He taught briefly at Ryerson University before moving to the University of Hawaii-Manoa in 1990. He has served as the graduate chair of the philosophy department at UHM for fifteen years and the department chair for six years. He is the author of two books, Dimensions of the Hermeneutic Circle and The Nature of Dignity, as well as a dozen or so articles in various journals, and is the coeditor of two anthologies. Currently, he is on sabbatical and working on a book on the metaethical implications of evolutionary biology.

H-G Gadamer is often, mistakenly, attributed with being in some important sense the first interpretation theorist to insist on the unattainability of perfectly objective interpretations. But in fact both Schleiermacher and Dilthey (Gadamer’s chief targets for criticism in Truth and Method) had insisted on this as well. And in spite of his brilliant analysis of the fore-structural grounds of knowing that complicate the business of interpretation, in suggesting that the pursuit of objectivity in interpretation is a Quixotic enterprise, Gadamer made a grave mistake.