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Abstract

To the extent that hermeneutics is a text-oriented interpretation, and that texts are among other things instances of written language, no interpretation theory is possible that does not come to grips with the problem of writing. Therefore the purpose of this essay is twofold. I want first to show that the transition from speaking to writing has its conditions of possibility in the structures of discourse itself, then to connect the kind of intentional exteriorization which writing exhibits to a central problem of hermeneutics, that of distanciation. This same concept of exteriority, which in the first part of this paper will be more used than criticized, will become problematic in the second part. Plato's critique of writing as a kind of alienation will provide the turning point from the descriptive to the critical treatment of the exteriorization of discourse proper to writing.

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