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With a Foreword by Lars Vinx, this book is the first complete English translation of the Italian jurist, Emilio Betti's classic work Die Hermeneutik als allgemeine Methodik der Geisteswissenschaften, originally published in 1962.
Betti's hermeneutical theory is presented here as a 'general methodology of the sciences of the spirit', such as to allow the achievement of objectivity, however relative it might be. Its central focus is the tension between an object, to be considered in its autonomy, and the subjectivity of the interpreter, who can understand the object only by means of his or her own categories, historical-cultural conditions, and interests. Set against the work of Bultmann and Gadamer, Betti is concerned to limit the arbitrariness of subjectivity without diminishing the place of interpretation. Detailing the principles that govern, and therefore, guide any interpretation, Betti traces how interpretation in art and in literature, as well as in the fields of science, jurisprudence, sociology, and economy, can be said to be objective, albeit only ever in a relative sense.
This summa of Betti's key contribution to hermeneutic theory will be of interest across a range of disciplines, including legal and literary theory, philosophy, as well as the history and sociology of law.