Call for papers: Hermeneutics and Translation Studies

Hermeneutics and Translation Studies

1st Call for Papers

Even though Translation Studies and Hermeneutics share a common interest in the mediating processes, these two disciplines have co-existed and developed since the advent of Translation Studies in the mid 20th century with strikingly little interaction. The purpose of this symposium is to explore avenues in which Hermeneutics and Translation Studies could complement one another, thereby strengthen research on both oral and written mediation and the mediating processes. The symposium is conceived of as a forum for posing and discussing questions of relevance to these two disciplines. In particular, the purpose of the symposium is to begin developing the contours and goals of and simultaneously setting limits to the scope of an emerging discipline, Translational Hermeneutics, which could be developed by merging these heretofore distinct research strands.


1. A Retrospective: Hermeneutics and the Development of Translation Studies

2. The Future: the New Field of “Translational Hermeneutics”

3. Didactics of Translation and Interpreting from a Hermeneutical Point of View

4. Translation in Practice – Specialized Texts versus Literature

5. Hermeneutics, Culture and Postcolonial Translation Studies

6. Synergies: Hermeneutics and Cognitive Linguistics

7. Hermeneutics, Corpus Studies and Empirical Research – Conflicting Paradigms?


The symposium is scheduled to start in the morning of 26th of May, 2011 and end by 5:00 p.m. on the 27th of May, 2011. It will include papers and panel discussions. An evening dinner will be provided on the 26th of May to foster a discussion in a less formal atmosphere.


The symposium will take place in the Rotunde, a large, circular room overlooking the Rhine River at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne. Accommodations are available within walking distance.


Abstracts for papers should be sent electronically as an attached file (MS Word format) to: Dr. John Stanley (

Abstracts for panel proposals should be submitted by the moderator as a single abstract of 300-500 words with a list of panellists (names and affiliations). Panels should deal with a clearly defined topic and consist of a 90-minute debate. These abstracts should be sent to: Dr. John Stanley (

All submissions should include a short author profile.


Congress languages will be English and German. Please submit your abstracts in the language the paper or panel discussion will be held in.


The deadline for submission of abstracts and panel proposals is 15th of February, 2011.

The scientific committee will inform potential contributors of its decision around March 1, 2011.


Radegundis Stolze, Larisa Cercel, John Stanley


John Stanley


A selection of contributions will be published as a volume of proceedings.


Symposium fees (2 Days, including refreshments and evening dinner)

Early Registration (by March 31, 2011)

Late Registration (as of April 1, 2011)

Students, Early Registration (by March 31, 2011)

Students, Late Registration (as of April 1, 2011)

€ 40,00

€ 60,00

€ 25,00

€ 50,00

Review: The Truth (and Untruth) of Language: Heidegger, Ricoeur and Derrida on Disclosure and Displacement

Gert-Jan van der Heiden, The Truth (and Untruth) of Language: Heidegger, Ricoeur and Derrida on Disclosure and Displacement, Duquesne University Press, 2010, 296pp, $25.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780820704340.

Reviewed by Karl Simms, University of Liverpool

Van der Heiden's project is deceptively modest: to understand how Heidegger, Ricoeur and Derrida address poetic language and truth through the twin concepts of disclosure and displacement. This, of course, already presupposes much: that truth is to be found in poetic language rather than any other sort (scientific, propositional, etc.), and that the concepts of disclosure and displacement are central to discerning a certain commonality of purpose between these three thinkers.

Van der Heiden's book is organised into four principal chapters: 'Heidegger on Disclosure and Language', 'The Transference of Writing', 'Inventions of Metaphor', and 'Mimesis in Myth and Translation'. In the first, he reminds us that for Heidegger, Being arrives to Dasein in a state of unconcealedness (alētheia), but that metaphysics from Plato on has veiled the way whereby Being brings its unconcealedness with it. In Sein und Zeit, the 'fundamental phenomenon of truth' is 'the disclosedness of Dasein' (p. 46), and on this rests a conception of language that is 'apophantic', which is to say, it reveals beings (to themselves), rather than representing the world. This apophantic, or showing, character of language is dependent on Dasein's disclosedness. In his later work, Heidegger turns towards the essence of language and in so doing sees language as the origin of disclosure itself, rather than being derivative of it. Along the way, Heidegger rejects the project (associated with Frege and the analytic tradition) of producing an unambiguous computable metalanguage: such a metalanguage by definition cannot find truth as disclosure within the heart of language itself, as a lived experience. By the same token Heidegger also rejects everyday speaking which, through its forgetting of the originarily authentic in its adoption of cliché and idle talk, does not bring language to language itself. This bringing of language to language can only be achieved, according to Heidegger, through poetic language, leading him to readings of Stefan George and Hölderlin as exemplars of poets who unconceal the essence of language to beings. Heidegger thus privileges Ereignis, the event whereby the appropriate word is said in poetry as an unconcealment of truth and reality. The essence of language is this poetic Sage, saying.

This leads Heidegger to a dismissal of writing as a displacement of this Sage, a displacement which conceals the essence of language. Thus disclosure and displacement are the two opposing poles which delimit the field of Heidegger's enquiry into language: disclosure as the unconcealment of language's essence and displacement as its concealment. It is at this point that van der Heiden sees Ricoeur and Derrida as engaging with Heidegger, both in accepting his premises regarding the alētheic nature of language, and in rejecting the opposition he establishes between writing and authentic saying. Ricoeur, we recall, appropriates and radicalises Gadamer's notion of distanciation. For Ricoeur, writing entails a fourfold distanciation. Firstly, it partakes of the distanciation common to any form of discourse, that between event and signification. What a piece of discourse means can always in principle be distanced from the event of its being articulated: I can have a conversation on a certain topic one day and tell a third party about it on another day. The second form of distanciation is peculiar to writing, in that a written text may be distanced from its explicit addressee, if it has one: 'the text addresses everyone who can read' (p.79). Thirdly, writing distances from the world, insofar as in hearing speech I understand meaning directly, whereas writing draws attention to its structure, form, genre and so on. What is significant about this for Ricoeur is that through this suspension of the world, written text is able to present an imaginary or fictive world: fiction refigures and redescribes the world we inhabit (it is not clear from Ricoeur's account, or from van der Heiden's summary of it, why the stories produced by oral cultures do not enjoy the same privilege). And fourthly, writing distances self from self, as when we 'lose ourselves' in a book. Contrary to Gadamer, who held that we impose our Vor-urteile (pre-judgements or prejudices) on texts, for Ricoeur we expose ourselves to texts. Texts increase the interpreter's understanding of the world while exposing his or her illusions.

More here.

Book: The Truth (and Untruth) of Language

The Truth (and Untruth) of Language

Heidegger, Ricoeur, and Derrida on Disclosure and Displacement

By Gert-Jan van der Heiden

$25.00 paper
ISBN: 978-0-8207-0434-0
300 pages

Book Information

Throughout the history of philosophy, the truth of language has often been considered from the perspective of the distinction between language that serves the transparency and univocality to which philosophy strives and language that threatens this goal. Linguistic phenomena such as writing, metaphor, and poetic mimesis are often considered examples of the latter form, and as a result, treacherous to truth; they would exemplify the “seduction of language,” as Husserl beautifully called it. Against this background, it is remarkable that contemporary hermeneutics often inquires into the relation between truth and language by taking these seductive forms of language as a point of departure. Contemporary hermeneutics does so in order to provide a new understanding of truth and untruth in relation to language.

In this study, Gert-Jan van der Heiden shows that this hermeneutic understanding of the relation between truth, untruth, and language can be clarified by inquiring into the meaning of two notions: disclosure and displacement. Unconcealment and hiding, truth and untruth, disclosure and displacement are the key notions to understanding the various conceptions of language in contemporary approaches to hermeneutics in continental philosophy. By painting a picture of the different meanings of these concepts in the work of Heidegger, Ricoeur, and Derrida, illuminating the differences and affinities of their respective projects, he finds an original way of showing how these three thinkers mutually discuss the relation between truth and language.

The Truth (and Untruth) of Language also confirms Heidegger’s continued influence in contemporary debates by tracing the influence of his account of the disclosure and displacement of language in the reigning schools of hermeneutical thought in continental philosophy. As a result, he offers a clear account of the comparison between hermeneutics and deconstruction by elucidating Ricoeur and Derrida’s shared resource of Heidegger’s project.

“Van der Heiden clearly locates the problem of language around its double ability to disclose the essence of things and displace the essence of things. No one has penetrated the Heidegger hinge between Ricoeur and Derrida as much as van der Heiden has.” — Leonard Lawlor, Edwin Erie Sparks Professor of Philosophy, Penn State University

Author Information

GERT-JAN VAN DER HEIDEN is assistant professor at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Radboud University Nijmegen (the Netherlands) and holds doctoral degrees in both mathematics and philosophy. He has previously published journal articles in Philosophy Today, Symposium, and International Journal for Philosophy and Theology.

Book Reviews

Van der Heiden clearly locates the problem of language around its double ability to disclose the essence of things and displace the essence of things . . . No one has penetrated the Heidegger hinge between Ricoeur and Derrida as much as van der Heiden has.” — Leonard Lawlor, Edwin Erie Sparks Professor of Philosophy, Penn State University