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Philosophy and the Historical Perspective$
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Marcel van Ackeren

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266298

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266298.001.0001

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On Interpreting Historical Texts and Contributing to Current Philosophy

On Interpreting Historical Texts and Contributing to Current Philosophy

(p.69) 5 On Interpreting Historical Texts and Contributing to Current Philosophy
Philosophy and the Historical Perspective

Marcel van Ackeren

, Marcel van Ackeren, Lee Klein
British Academy

The chapter discusses four aspects of the question of how we have to interpret historical text in order to make a contribution to current philosophy. It first argues against the dialogue approach, according to which philosophers of the past can be our interlocutors and our interpretations of their texts are dialogues with them. Second, it criticises the Rorschach approach for claiming that our interpretations of the historical texts do not have to be faithful representations of the texts. Third, it is possible that historical text and our current debates concern identical questions but that we should not presuppose transhistorical identity, for there is too much change. Fourth, three types of contexts are distinguished and it is argued that referring to them might enhance the interpretation of the arguments in the texts.

Keywords:   transhistorical Identiy, context, dialogue approach, Rorschach approach, contribution to current philosophy

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