Volume 2, 2008
On the Concept of “Radical Understanding”
“Radical understanding” – an expression recalling Quine’s “radical translation” and Davidson’s “radical interpretation” – concerns that necessary presupposition of every understanding that is shown in extreme cases of indecipherability. Such a minimum content consists in understanding an existence. Indeed, Heideggerian ontological hermeneutics has weaved together understanding and existence to the point that it is possible to establish an analogy between the existential analysis and the several grades of text decipherability: the passage from the inauthentic to the authentic existence can be read as a passage from the semantic (radical interpretation) to the syntactic (radical translation) and to the ontological level (radical understanding). The level of radical understanding is the one in which the minimal content of understanding coincides with its formal condition of possibility, in which understanding is to understand an existence.