§3. Hermeneutics as the Self-Interpretation of Facticity [14-15]

written records"),24 but he supported it with an analysis of understanding as such and investigated the development of hermeneutics in the context of his research on the development of the human sciences.

But it is precisely here that a disastrous limitation in his position shows itself. The decisive epochs in the actual development of hermeneutics (Patristic period and Luther) remained hidden from him, since he always investigated hermeneutics as a theme only to the extent that it displayed a tendency to what he himself considered to be its essential dimension— a methodology for the hermeneutical human sciences. Still, the systematically conducted watering down of Dilthey's thought today (Spranger) has never once come close to measuring up to his position on the nature of hermeneutics, which is to start with already quite limited, showing little clarity regarding fundamental issues, and moving only to a small extent in their direction.

§3. Hermeneutics as the self-interpretation offactitity

In the title given to the following investigation, "hermeneutics" is <ι>not being used in its modern meaning, and in no sense does it have the meaning of such a broadly conceived doctrine about interpretation. In connection with its original meaning, this term means rather: a definite unity in the actualizing of ἑρμηνεύειν (of communicating), i.e., of the interpreting of facticity in which facticity is being encountered, seen, grasped, and expressed in concepts.

This word was chosen and is being used in its original meaning because, though basically inadequate, it nonetheless highlights in an indicative manner a few factors which are at work in the investigation of facticity. When looked at from the side of its "object," hermeneutics— as this object's presumed mode of access—clearly shows that this object has its being as something capable of interpretation and in need of interpretation and that to be in some state of having-been-interpreted belongs to its being. Hermeneutics has the task of making the Dasein which is in each case our own accessible to this Dasein itself with regard to the character of its being, communicating Dasein to itself in this regard, hunting down the alienation from itself with which it is smitten. In hermeneutics what is developed for Dasein is a possibility of its becoming and being for itself in the manner of an <ι>understanding of itself.

24. "Die Entstehung der Hermeneutik," in Philosophische Abhandlungen, Chr. Sigwart zu seinem 70. Geburtstage gewidmet v. B. Erdmann u. a. (Tubingen, Freiburg, and Leipzig, 1900), p. 190; 5th ed. in Gesammelte Schriften, Vol. V (Stuttgart and Gottingen, 1968), p. 320. ["The Development of Hermeneutics," in Selected Writings, trans. H. P. Rickman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), pp. 249-50 (modified).]