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The Hermeneutical Academic: Philosophical Hermeneutics as a Model for Academic Behaviour

MCGARRY, John (2019) The Hermeneutical Academic: Philosophical Hermeneutics as a Model for Academic Behaviour. In: TIRI Conference 2019, 3-4 July 2019, University of Bolton. (Unpublished)

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Abstract or description

How we interact with students is important. As lecturers, we influence the development of our students in numerous ways: intellectually, culturally and professionally. In this paper, I suggest that philosophical hermeneutics can serve as a model for how we should act with students and colleagues. Philosophical hermeneutics is most closely associated with Hans-Georg Gadamer and is a reflection on the process of understanding. Gadamer argues that understanding requires an open mindedness and a willingness to put one’s opinions and ideas in play, to have them challenged and to be willing to amend them. This is epitomised by Gadamer’s account of a true conversation which is characterised by a receptiveness and non-dogmatic willingness to learn: ‘there is no higher principle than this: holding oneself open to the conversation … recognizing in advance the possibility that your [conversation] partner may be right, even recognizing the possible superiority of your partner’ (Gadamer 1997). In such a conversation ‘one does not try to argue the other person down but … one really considers the weight of the other’s opinion’ (Gadamer 1960). I explain how my research in, and use of, philosophical hermeneutics informs my teaching practice and how I attempt to adopt the non-hierarchical, non-dogmatic approach inherent within philosophical hermeneutics to govern my interactions with students and colleagues, inside and outside of the classroom. I argue that this approach can also serve as a model for students as developing academics and professionals.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Faculty: School of Law, Policing and Forensics > Law
Event Title: TIRI Conference 2019
Event Location: University of Bolton
Event Dates: 3-4 July 2019
Depositing User: John MCGARRY
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2020 15:14
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:59

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