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The hidden telos: Hermeneutics in critical rewriting

Authors
Publisher
Walter de Gruyter
Publication Date
Disciplines
  • Literature
  • Philosophy

Abstract

In any encounter with theoretical texts there seems to operate a set of rules, stipulated in the performance of reading, that point toward a configuration able to account for a certain number of textual details: teleology. This can be discovered in radical forms of deconstruction as much as in traditional philosophical inquiry. In its simplest form telos may appear as the deductive mechanism of subsumptive reason purveying a system of closure. Teleology in this sense has been under attack in recent literary theory. Rarely does this kind of attack address the notion of teleology in the more sophisticated version in which it appears in Kant's Critique of Judgment (1968: Section 61), where he applies the distinction between determining and reflective reason: If we were to ascribe to nature intentionally effective causes, we would give teleology as a foundation not only a regulatory principle for the mere judgment of appearances, according to which nature can be thought to be following its specific laws, but also a constitutive principle for the deduction of its products from their causes: thus the concept of a purpose of nature would no longer be part of the reflective but of determining faculty of judgment.

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