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The ethics of interpretation after postmodernism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter prepares a re-conceptualization with regard to the issue of normativity. It sketches the possibility of a normative commitment build into our interpretive practices, if understood as the dialogical reconstruction, and thus recognition of the other's beliefs and assumptions. Dialogical interpretation, defined as a methodological core-principle of human science, entails a situated normativity that takes up the new sensitivity toward the concrete and contextual without succumbing to sheer relativism and reductionism. The chapter presents, by means of a comparison between modern and postmodern conceptions of social science, an interpretation of the relevance of the postmodern challenge with regard to modern social theory. Based on this, it sketches a fourfold discursive field of positions addressing the justification of normative perspectives. This discussion serves as a backdrop against which the concept of a hermeneutic competence of dialogical perspective-taking emerges as a plausible candidate for the grounding of our normative intuitions.

Keywords: ethics; human science; postmodernism; situated normativity; social theory



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