Conceptual deep structures and the hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer
Vásquez, Victor Manuel Morales
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The purpose of this study is to explain the notion of conceptual deep structures as a philosophical construct and to investigate such structures in the hermeneutics of Hans- Georg Gadamer. Conceptual deep structures involve: key-conceptualizations of a philosophical nature (such as the belief that all knowledge is wholly culturally determined); root metaphors determining the content of a specific philosophical discourse (such as viewing culture as a kind of organism); and determining ideological paradigms (such as positivism or post-modernism). The research will attempt to investigate the role of these factors in the thought of Gadamer - something which has never been attempted in this form before. It is also important to note that a specific analytical methodology is at stake here, which may eventually be implemented to determine the ground structure of other philosophical discourses. Although many studies of Gadarrier's thought (Gadamer is a major hermeneutic theorist of the previous century) have been undertaken, this particular analysis will achieve a unique philosophical perspective on the determining factor of his thought. In the process, important modifications to two other philosophical theories of conceptual deep structures, namely those of Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven, will be motivated. These latter theories are influential in the circles of Christian philosophy across the world. The central hypothesis of the research is that it will be possible to explain the hermeneuties of Gadamer as deriving from certain determining factors which one can assume to be of an a priori nature (e.g. the guiding role that metaphors have been shown to play in concepts and theories). The methodology implemented here has been used successfully to analyse the thought of other philosophers, and it seemed that fruitful results in the case of Gadamer were also possible. The findings of this research may affirm some interpretations of Gadamer's thought, while others may become suspect. More importantly, a new analytical tool in philosophical interpretation (the elucidation of conceptual deep structures) will be tested and in the process further refined.