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Politics, Hermeneutics, and Truth

Malpas, J ORCID: 0000-0003-4378-8937 and Malpas, N 2017 , 'Politics, Hermeneutics, and Truth', in S Mazzini and O Glyn-Williams (eds.), Making Communism Hermeneutical: Reading Vattimo and Zabala , Springer International Publishing AG, Cham, pp. 19-29.

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

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Malpas, J and Malpas, N
Keywords: politics, hermeneutics, truth
Publisher: Springer International Publishing AG
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Copyright 2017 Springer International Publishing AG

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