Are Hermeneutics and the Austrian Approach Compatible? A Clarifying Analysis
This paper investigates the merging of the Austrian Approach and Hermeneutics under a new light. It defends a middle ground between the standpoint of the Austrian hermeneutists and that of their critics. The latter, especially Rothbard, considered hermeneutics to be incompatible with Austrian School because they confused hermeneutics with what Mises calls “polylogism”, i.e. with cognitive nihilism. Their view was incorrect, but their criticism of the Austrian hermeneutists was not completely unfounded. Austrian hermeneutists did not clearly separate what they called hermeneutics from the postmodernist epistemologies of authors such as Derrida, Kuhn, and Rorty. This article demonstrates that hermeneutics as intended by Gadamer, its greatest theorist, has nothing to do with postmodernism. It is a fallibilist theory of the objective truth in the sense of Popper. So it is compatible both with the Austrians’ antipolylogism and their methodological individualism.
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