V. 10 N. 1 (2017): Intuition and Understanding between Phenomenology and Hermeneutics

Can we still validly study the notions of “intuition” and “understanding”? Do the shifts in meaning to which these words have been subject exclude a renewed attempt to look for the unitary meaning that may subtend their various uses? For instance, in Latin, the word “intuition” comes from the verb intuèri, which alludes to the domain of visual perception (tuèri literally means “to look at”). On the other hand, as Gadamer reminds us in Truth and Method, “understanding” expresses the idea of relation to another, meaning that has its source in the legal domain. Indeed history has charged these terms with ever richer meaning; on the other hand, however, can the ultimate signification of each of these terms be understood without referring to what has always been intended by those who use these words? 
In the last century, philosophers coming from both phenomenology and hermeneuticshave heavily relied on the notions of intuition and understanding. Edmund Husserl’s notion of Wesensschau and Hans-Georg Gadamer’s appropriation of the Heideggerian notion of Verstehen are two eminent examples. As early as the Logical Investigations, one of Husserl’s utmost and guiding concerns was to rethink the genuine meaning of scientific activity against any reduction ofscience to empirical experience. In the Ideas, he finds in the notion of eidetic intuition (eidetische Anschauung or Wesensschau) a central doctrine in order to liberate science from the dogmatismof the fact. At the same time, significantly, the conception of eidetic intuition is still understood by Husserl at the beginning of the Ideas in analogy to the perceptual activity of seeing. On the otherhand, Gadamer relies on Heidegger’s notion of Verstehen and its fundamental insight into ourhistorical mode of being in order to free hermeneutics from what he calls in Truth and Method “the ontological obstructions of the scientific concept of objectivity.” Yet, it can be argued that the objectivity set by science as the goal of its activity is not the expression of an obstruction butmerely the name of a problem concerning the kind of understanding that is at work in the sciences.
The present volume aims to offer a renewed attempt to think the notions of intuition andunderstanding in the context of phenomenological and hermeneutical analysis. The volume aimsthereby also at highlighting common traits and distinguishing characteristics of the two philosophical currents in their approaches and conceptualization of these two ideas.
Pubblicato: 2017-06-01