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Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


M odern E uropean philosophy Application in the scientific world applies general knowledge or a universal law to particular instances by subsuming the instances under a general concept and rule. In the humanities, on the other hand, application is not so straightforward, for the distance between general laws (if there are any) and their instances is very great. Application is rather a process of intertwining theory and practice. Traditional hermeneutics classifies application as the third fundamental element in the act of understanding, besides “ understanding ” and “ interpretation .” In Gadamer 's hermeneutics, application becomes an essential and integral part involved in all interpretative understandings. Aristotle argues that ethical or practical knowledge must be tied to particular circumstances and modified to suit these circumstances. The meaning of an ethical norm can only be shown in a concrete situation of action. Analogically, Gadamer claims that all understanding must be historically situated. A text can only be understood in relation to the present and through modifications in accordance with changed historical circumstances. This is the moment of application in understanding. Understanding is always applied understanding, even when application is not the intended purpose. Understanding that is independent of the particular situation to which it is applied must ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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