Philology vs Philosophy? In Search of the Exit from the Interpretative Dead Еnd

Philology vs Philosophy? In Search of the Exit from the Interpretative Dead Еnd


  • Journal title: Studia Litterarum
  • ISSN: 2500-4247 (print) 2541-8564 (online)
  • Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Country of publisher: russian federation
  • Date added to EuroPub: 2018/May/06

Subject and more

  • LCC Subject Category: Languages and Literature, Literature
  • Publisher's keywords: interpretation, philology and philosophy, hermeneutics, commentary
  • Language of fulltext: russian, French, english
  • Full-text formats available: PDF
  • Time From Submission to Publication: 5


    Vadim V. Polonsky


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The author claims that interpretation has become a key element among epistemological tools of the 20th Century humanities as the result of conflicting interference of philological and philosophical methods. Since the 1960s, there have been attempts in literary studies to resist the expansion of interpretative models that often bear on subjective and ideological speculations and borrow from the methodology of other disciplines. The essay gives a generalized historical insight into the dynamics of interrelation between philology and philosophy in the light of the interpretation problem, highlighting kin hostility and tense interdependence of these two disciplines deriving from Platonism. It demonstrates the swing of the pendulum between “philologization of philosophy” and “philosophication of philology” from Wolf, Friedrich Schlegel, and Schleiermacher to Nietzshe and Heidegger. Describing the current crisis in the theories of interpretation, the author argues that academic literary studies may overcome this crisis by following the principle of practical conservatism and methodological reduction. Working in fundamental philological genres (literary history, textology, preparing edited academic collections of classical works, biographical studies, the study of textual poetics, etc.), scholars would beneft from abandoning further search for new interpretative strategies and adhering to those methods that were already developed within the tenets of the classic 19th Century philology. This way, it would be possible to overcome the current overlapping between philology and philosophy that, in its turn, more and more conspicuously reorients itself from interpretation as a form of actual statement towards a genre of commentary on the heritage of the past.

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