Existenz Menu
An International Journal in Philosophy, Religion, Politics, and the Arts
ISSN 1932-1066

Volume 18, No. 2, Fall 2023


Phenomenology and Transcendence

Robert J. Dostal | Bryn Mawr College


Keywords: tba.

Robert Dostal's Gadamer's Hermeneutics: Between Phenomenology and Dialectic
Theodore George | Texas A&M University


Keywords: tba.

Robert Dostal, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and the Challenge of Phenomenology
David Vessey | Grand Valley State University

A central theme of Robert Dostal's book is Gadamer's relation to classical phenomenology; a central concern is that Gadamer cannot answer, in Dostal's words, "the Phenomenological Challenge"—the hermeneutics fails to appreciate the philosophical significance "of our direct and immediate contact with the world." Where Dostal tries to answer this challenge by showing the places Gadamer does speak of a pre-linguistic, immediate contact with the world. I argue that one should embrace Gadamer's proximity to John McDowell's views and draw upon them to clarify Gadamer's criticisms of classical phenomenology and show how they do not leave him susceptible to the phenomenology challenge.

Keywords: Gadamer, Hans-Georg; McDowell, John; phenomenology, hermeneutics, language.

The Good Life: Comments on Robert J. Dostal, Gadamer's Hermeneutics
Mirela Oliva | University of St. Thomas

Robert Dostal's book examines, among other topics, how Gadamer adopts Aristotle's paradigm of the good life. Dostal argues that Gadamer balances the practical and theoretical life and emphasizes the practical. My comments present Dostal's view on Gadamer's version of the Aristotelian paradigm. I show, first, that Dostal explains these modifications with Gadamers' fundamental rejection of modern subjectivism. Second, I present Dostal's compelling analysis of Gadamer's use of phronesis as a bridge between the theoretical and the practical. One of the merits of Dostal's book resides precisely in working out the phronetic character of understanding.

Keywords: Aristotle; Gadamer, Hans Georg; the good life; phronesis; Enlightenment.

Dialogic Solidarity
Georgia Warnke | University of California, Riversidey

Robert Dostal's Gadamer's Hermeneutics: Between Phenomenology and Dialectic illuminates three important aspects of Gadamer's remarks on solidarity: it is part of his critique of subjectivism; it is not based on shared identities; and it is connected to dialogue and conversation. This review discusses and expands on Dostal's account. Whereas Dostal claims that conversation for Gadamer can bond participants into a common view that makes both friendship and solidarity possible; I claim that for Gadamer solidarity just is conversation, a commitment to discuss issues together in a sincere search for their solution.

Keywords: Dostal, Robert; Gadamer, Hans-Georg; Rorty, Richard; solidarity; conversation; identity; technology.

Transcending Tribalism
Hugh F. Kelly | Fordham University


Keywords: tba.

Accepting Collective Guilt: Karl Jaspers’ Question of German Guilt in Light of Current Political Debates
Michael Steinmann | Stevens Institute of Technology

Jaspers' small volume Die Schuldfrage was written shortly after the Second World War to provide much-needed clarifications for the discussion of Germany’s guilt. The distinctions between criminal, political, moral, and metaphysical guilt that he introduced are still helpful today, for example, regarding the analysis of Western societies' involvement in slavery and genocide. While for Jaspers, moral guilt can only be individual, the essay argues that there can be collective moral guilt. Despite his moral sincerity, the public acceptance of collective guilt often ends in a contradictory stance. The essay reconstructs some of the dialectical structures that arise when the question is asked what the acceptance of collective guilt is for, whether it is possible for someone to want to be guilty, and who is entitled to attribute guilt. The essay also discusses the blind spots in Jaspers' approach, which stem from his adherence to the idea of the nation as an organic whole.

Keywords: Morality; guilt; conscience; crime; nation; limit situation; Holocaust; colonialism; slavery; dialectics.

Transcendence in the Russian Cultural Paradigm. Limitations of the German Schuldfrage in Building Authentic Moral Consciousness
Lydia Voronina | Boston, MA


Keywords: tba.

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