Richard Rorty and the Interpretive Political Philosophy: Some Discussions on the Hermeneutic Turn in Political Philosophy





Published date: 

December, 2010


Chung-ping Wei


This article intends to provide a selected but cogent depiction of how theories of contemporary hermeneutics have influenced research in political philosophy based on a critical scrutiny of Richard Rorty’s hermeneutic theory and a discussion of the new-developing “interpretive political philosophy,” put forth by another American philosopher Georgia Warnke. Two important concepts, “Conversation” and “Bildung”, borrowed from German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, play pivotal roles in Rorty’s and Warnke’s respective hermeneutic versions when they discuss how to deal with society’s controversy over its basic primary values and goods. This new hermeneutic approach to political philosophy is apparently only in its beginning stages and must both face and try to wrestle with some traditionally important hermeneutical problems on its road to maturity, as, for example, in the questioning of relativism and the criteria for adequacy. However, to the best of our belief, to learn and incessantly mix new elements from other approaches is one way for any discipline to survive as its faces various challenges over time.