Frontiers of Philosophy in China

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 628–655 | Cite as

Horizons of hermeneutics: Intercultural hermeneutics in a globalizing world

Research Article


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 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Asad, T. (1986). “The Inequality of Languages,” in Writing Culture: the Poetics and Politics of Ethnography, eds. by J. Clifford & G. E. Marcus. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California PressGoogle Scholar
  2. Bauman, Z. (1991). Modernity and Ambivalence. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University PressGoogle Scholar
  3. Chang, H. L, (1988). “Hallucinating the Other: Derridean Fantasies of Chinese Script” (Working Paper No. 4). Milwaukee: The University of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeGoogle Scholar
  4. Chew, M. M. (2009). “Intercultural Interpretative Difficulties of Modern Chinese Intellectual Development: A Hermeneutical View.” Asian Culture and History, 1(2): 34–44Google Scholar
  5. Dallmayr, F. (2009). “Hermeneutics and Inter-Cultural Dialog: Linking Theory and Practice.” Ethics & Global Politics, 2(1): 23–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. de Mul, J. (1999). “The Informatization of the Worldview.” Information, Communication & Society, 2(1): 604–629CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. de Mul, J. (2004). The Tragedy of Finitude: Dilthey’s Hermeneutics of Life. New Haven: Yale University PressGoogle Scholar
  8. de Mul, J. (2007). Saibo Kongjian de Aodesai 赛博空间的奥德赛 (Cyberspace Odyssey). Guilin: Guangxi Shifan Daxue ChubansheGoogle Scholar
  9. de Mul, J. (2009). “The work of art in the age of digital recombination.” In Digital Material: Anchoring New Media in Daily Life and Technology, edited by J. Raessens, M. Schäfer, M. van den Boomen, Lehmann and & S. A.-S. Lammes. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University PressGoogle Scholar
  10. de Mul, J. (2010). Cyberspace Odyssey: Towards a Virtual Ontology and Anthropology. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars PublishingGoogle Scholar
  11. de Schutter, H. (2004). “Gadamer and Interculturalism: Ethnocentrism or Authenticity,” in Interculturalism Exploring Critical Issue, eds. by D. Powell & F. Sze. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary PressGoogle Scholar
  12. Derrida, J. (1972a). Marges de la Philosophie (Margins of Philosophy). Paris: MinuitGoogle Scholar
  13. Derrida, J. (1972b). La Dissémination (Dissemination). Paris: SeuilGoogle Scholar
  14. Derrida, J. (1976). Of Grammatology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University PressGoogle Scholar
  15. Derrida, J. (1982). Margins of Philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago PressGoogle Scholar
  16. Derrida, J. (1987). Psyché: Inventions de L’autre (Psyche: Inventions of the Other). Paris: GaliléeGoogle Scholar
  17. Dilthey, W. (1914–2005). Gesammelte Schriften. Stuttgart/Göttingen: B.G.Teubner, Vandenhoeck & RuprechtGoogle Scholar
  18. Dilthey, W. (1996). Hermeneutics and the Study of History. Selected Works, Vol. 4. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University PressGoogle Scholar
  19. Dilthey, W. (2002). The Formation of the Historical World in the Human Sciences. Selected Works: Vol. 3.. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University PressGoogle Scholar
  20. Frank, M. (1989). What Is Neostructuralism? Minneapolis: University of Minnesota PressGoogle Scholar
  21. Gadamer, H. G. (1986). Wahrheit und Methode, Grunzüge einer Philosophischen Hermeneutik. Gesammelte Werke I. Tübingen: MohrGoogle Scholar
  22. Gadamer, H. G. (1989a). Truth and Method (2nd ed.). New York: CrossroadGoogle Scholar
  23. Gadamer, H. G. (1989b). Das Erbe Europas: Beiträge (The Heritage of Europe). Frankfurt am Main: SuhrampGoogle Scholar
  24. Gadamer, H. G. (1991). “Die Hermeneutik und die Diltheyschule.” Philosophische Rundschau, Vol. 3, 161–177Google Scholar
  25. Gilbert, A. L., Regier, T., Kay, P., & Ivry, R. B. (2006). “Whorf Hypothesis Is Supported in the Right Visual Field but not the Left.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(2): 489–494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Glissant, E. (1997). Traité du Tout-monde. Paris: GallimardGoogle Scholar
  27. Hansen, C. (1983). Language and Logic in Ancient China. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan PressGoogle Scholar
  28. Hansen, C. (1985). “Chinese Language, Chinese Philosophy, and ‘Truth’.” Journal of Asian Studies, XLIV(3): 491–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hansen, C. (1997). “Do Human Rights Apply to China?: A Normative Analysis of Cultural Difference,” in Constructing China, Vol. XLIV, ed. by L. A. Y. Lieberthal. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan PressGoogle Scholar
  30. Hansen, C. (1998). Zhongguo Gudai de Yuyan he Luoji 中国古代的语言和逻辑 (Language and Logic in Ancient China), Vol. 1. Beijing: Shehui Kexue Wenxian ChubansheGoogle Scholar
  31. Hegel, G. W. F. (2010). Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind. A Revised Version of the Wallace and Miller. Oxford: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  32. Hegel, G. W. F. (1969–1971). Theorie Werkausgabe (Collected Works of Theories). Frankfurt am Main: SuhrkampGoogle Scholar
  33. Huntington, S. P. (1996). The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon & SchusterGoogle Scholar
  34. Leibniz, G. W. (1705). “Explication de l’ arithmetique binaire” (Explication of Binary Arithmetic). Paris: Histoire de l’Academie royale des Sciences, Année 1703, 85–89Google Scholar
  35. Leibniz, G. W. (1976–2004). Mathematischer, Naturwissenschaftlicher und Technischer Briefwechsel (Mathematical, Scientific and Technical Correspondence), Vol. III. Berlin: Leibniz-Archiv HannoverGoogle Scholar
  36. Leibniz, G. W. (1981). New Essays on Human Understanding. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  37. Leibniz, G. W. (1990–2008). Mathematische Schriften (Mathematical Writings), Vol. 7. Berlin: Leibniz-Archiv HannoverGoogle Scholar
  38. Lin, T., Rosemont, H., & Ames, R. T. (1995). “Chinese Philosophy: A Philosophical Essay on the ’state-of-the-Art’.” The Journal of Asian Studies, 54(3): 747–748Google Scholar
  39. Marotta, V. (2009). “Intercultural Hermeneutics and the Cross-cultural Subject Export.” Journal of Intercultural Studies, 30(3): 267–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Meighoo, S. (2008). “Derrida’s Chinese Prejudice.” Cultural Critique, 68: 163–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Michelfelder, D. P., & Palmer, R. E. (1989). Dialogue and Deconstruction: the Gadamer-Derrida Encounter. Albany: State University of New York PressGoogle Scholar
  42. Mou, B. (1999). “The Structure of Chinese Language and Ontological Insights: A Collective-Noun Hypothesis.” Philosophy East and West, 49(1): 45–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pantham, T. (1992). “Some Dimensions of the Universality of Philosophical Hermeneutics: A Conversation with Hans-Georg Gadamer.” Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 9: 132Google Scholar
  44. Peng, F. (2009). “Art in and out of Cultural Borders: Seeing the Transition of Chinese Contemporary Art from Xu Bing’s Works,” in Gimme Shelter: Global Discourses in Horizons of Hermeneutics: Intercultural Hermeneutics in a Globalizing World 655Google Scholar
  45. Aesthetics, eds. by J. de Mul & R. van de Vall. Online Series in Aesthetics:
  46. Powell, D., & Sze, F. (eds.) (2004). Interculturalism: Exploring Critical Issues. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary PressGoogle Scholar
  47. Quine, W. V. (1969). Ontological Relativity, and Other Essays. New York: Columbia University PressGoogle Scholar
  48. Schleiermacher, F. D. E. (1985). “Allgemeine Hermeneutik” (von 1809/10), ed. by W. Virmond, in Internationaler Schleiermacher-Kongreß Berlin 1984, ed. by K.-V. Selge. Berlin/New York: De GruyterGoogle Scholar
  49. Wilkins, J. (1968). “An Essay towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language (1668),” in English Linguistics 1500–1800, A Collection of Facsimile Reprints, ed. by P. Scolar, Vol. 119. London: Royal SocietyGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PhilosophyErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamthe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations