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Practical Discourse Revisited

Hermeneutics at the Intersection of Philosophy and Nursing

Padgett, Stephen M., PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000166
Original Articles

Three early papers by Janice Thompson—Practical Discourse, Critical Scholarship, and Hermeneutic Inquiry—are examined in reference to the historical context of the time (1985-1990), and implications for current scholarship. Hermeneutic philosophy has been neglected in recent years, overshadowed by its weaker cousin phenomenology. I argue that renewed attention to hermeneutics would help us focus on the “situatedness” of nursing scholars, the class politics of academia, and a better balance in interpretative work between faith and suspicion. Critical hermeneutics also offers a more robust understanding of praxis and phronesis, and links to pragmatism and social studies of science.

College of Nursing, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Correspondence: Stephen M. Padgett, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Rd, Dartmouth, MA 02747 (

The author has disclosed that he has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

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