Hermeneutic Traditions Habermas, Hermeneutic Circle Sociology YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Hermeneutic Traditions: Habermas, Hermeneutic Circle |Sociology


  • Jargen Habermas
  • Marxist and Freduian theory
  • He argued that humans pursued knowledge to fulfill three interests:
    • Empirical-analytic to gain technical control
    • Cultural sciences to gain practical knowledge
    • Critical sciences for emancipation
  • Used depth hermeneutics
  • Understanding the meaning of something with historical and social context.
  • Systematically distorted communication:
    • lack of understanding even after the action is contextualized
  • Explanatory Understanding:
  • The What cannot be understood if the Why which is the origin cannot be explained at the same time

Classification of Hermeneutics

  • Hermeneutics of faith
    • How a text is read like the Bible
    • The traditional way
  • Hermeneutics of suspicion
    • Literary interpretation
    • hidden meanings
    • Skepticism

Hermeneutic Circle

  • Heidegger
  • Meaning is whole – central idea
  • It is not defined by sum of parts but holistically
  • E. g. , A picnic basket containing assorted food items
  • E. g. , Pleasure from meditation (experience as a whole)
  • Parts do not have meaning unless they are a part of a whole
  • For e. g. The word ‘am’ alone does not mean anything
  • Context is unlimited with various meanings associated with it
  • Thus, it is a process of interpretation
  • There is continuous movement between smaller and larger units of meaning
  • As a result, we understand meanings of both parts and whole

Why is It a Circle?

  • We keep moving back and forth to interpret meanings
  • Improving our understanding of meanings


Q. 1.

Statement 1: The hermeneutics of faith is animated by a willingness to listen and by a respect for the object as a revelation of the sacred.

Statement 2: The hermeneutics of suspicion is animated by a skepticism towards the given and a rejection of respect for the object.

In the light of the above statements, choose the correct options:

1. Statement 1 is true and Statement 2 is false

2. Statement 2 is true and Statement 1 is true

3. Both are true

4. Both are false

Answer: 3

Q. 2. Who classified hermeneutics into hermeneutics of faith and suspicion?

1. Dilthey

2. Josselson

3. Paul Riccour

4. Habermas

Answer: 3

✍ Manishika