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From the Meaning of Meaning to Radical Hermeneutics

Ricardo Gil Soeiro

E-LOGOS, 2017, vol. 2017, issue 2, 33-44

Abstract: Primarily focusing on Steiner's Real Presences (1989) and Caputo's Radical Hermeneutics: Repetition, Deconstruction, and the Hermeneutic Project (1987), the present article wishes to come to an understanding of the relationship between Steiner's hermeneutics of transcendence and John Caputo's radical hermeneutics. Faced with the XXth century inhumanity, Steiner seems to be embracing the most radical move in hermeneutics, and he does so by wagering on transcendence, in which the meaning of meaning peacefully rests on the arms of God, thus rejecting the negative semiotics of Derrida. However, when looked upon by the demanding eye of radical hermeneutics put forth by Caputo, Steinerian hermeneutics soon reveals itself in alliance with a metaphysics of presence and a philosophical thought which holds back the free play of difference. Whereas Steiner seeks 'the meaning of Meaning', John Caputo, one of America's most respected and controversial continental thinkers, has been both braced and terrified by Friedrich Nietzsche's demand to take the truth straight up, forgoing the need to have it 'attenuated, veiled, sweetened, blunted and falsified,' readily confessing that we have not been handpicked to be Being's or God's mouthpiece, that it is always necessary to get a reading, even if (and precisely because) the reading is there is no Reading, no final game-ending Meaning, no decisive and sweeping Story that wraps things up. Even if the secret is, there is no Secret. 'We do not know who we are - that is who we are.'.

Keywords: Answerability; Ethics; Hermeneutics; Meaning; Tragedy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.18267/j.e-logos.447

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