Research Article

Frontiers of Philosophy in China

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 628-655

First online:

Horizons of hermeneutics: Intercultural hermeneutics in a globalizing world

  • Jos de MulAffiliated withFaculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam Email author 


Starting from the often-used metaphor of the “horizon of experience” this article discusses three different types of intercultural hermeneutics, which respectively conceive hermeneutic interpretation as a widening of horizons, a fusion of horizons, and a dissemination of horizons. It is argued that these subsequent stages in the history of hermeneutics have their origin in—but are not fully restricted to—respectively premodern, modern and postmodern stages of globalization. Taking some striking moments of the encounter between Western and Chinese language and philosophy as example, the particular merits and flaws of these three types of hermeneutics are being discussed. The claim defended is that although these different types of hermeneutics are mutually exclusive from a theoretical point of view, as interpreting beings in the current era we depend on each of these distinct hermeneutic practices and cannot avoid living them simultaneously.


intercultural hermeneutics globalization horizon of interpretation Chinese language premodernism modernism postmodernism