Originating from a confrontation with the contemporary French thought, especially with Jacques Derrida, the article discusses the question of the relation between text and interpretation. It receives the basic impulse for the deliberation on the theme from the tradition of hermeneutics and from the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, from his considerations upon the subjects of the circle of understanding and the phenomenon of language. What is the relation of the text towards the language? What comes from the language forth into (...) the text? What does understanding between speakers mean and what does it mean that there can be commonly given to us something like texts, or even that in mutual understanding something comes into being that is, like a text, one and the same thing for us? How has the concept of the text been able to undergo such a universal extension? In this theme more is at stake than reflections upon the methodology of the philological sciences. Text is more than a title for the subject matter of literary research. Interpretation is more than the technique of scientifically interpreting texts. (shrink)
This essay was Gadamer 's position paper in the April 1981 “debate” with Derrida at a conference on “Text and Interpretation” held at the Sorbonne in Paris. In it he discusses his approach to texts and several elements of Derrida's philosophy,..
This volume makes available for the first time in English the most important of Hans-Georg Gadamer's extensive writings on art and literature. The principal text included is 'The Relevance of the Beautiful', Gadamer's most sustained treatment of philosophical aesthetics. The eleven other essays focus particularly on the challenge issued by modern painting and literature to our customary ideas of art, and use that challenge to revitalize our understanding of it. Gadamer demonstrates the continuing importance of such concepts as imitation, truth, (...) symbol, and play for our appreciation of contemporary art, and thereby establishes its continuity with the Western tradition. The essays here are not technical and are readily accessible to the beginning student and the general reader. The collection as a whole serves to illustrate the practice of hermeneutics and to introduce Gadamer's thought. Robert Bernasconi provides an introduction clarifying the central aims of the essays and their relations to Gadamer's major work, Truth and Method, and to the philosophy of art since Kant. A bibliography of Gadamer's writings available in English is also included. (shrink)
The book brings together thirteen essays presented to medical and psychiatric societies, mainly during the 1970's and 1980's. In these essays, Gadamer justifies the reasons for a philosophical interest in health and medicine, and a corresponding need for health practitioners to enter into a dialogue with philosophy.
Understanding is a ‘language event’ founded upon a ‘silent agreement’ between participants in a conversation. This silent agreement, built up of conversational aspects held in common, is what makes social solidarity possible and shows that the methods of science are an inappropriate starting point for our self-understanding. However, with the advent of industrial technical civilization, the question arises whether understanding has come under the control of a centrally steered communication system where language is a consciously wielded instrument of politics with (...) a corresponding loss of free insight and critical judgement. Only via a hermeneutic logic of words, which begins from recognition that words get their meaning from the open space of living conversation, can critical judgement be defended in the face of the authority of science and technology. (shrink)
The author approaches Plato's dialogues as live discussions in which the concrete concerns of the participants define the horizons of discourse. He takes up such perplexing problems of Plato's though as the role of poetry in the state and the theory of ideal numbers and brings to them a fresh understanding. With its emphasis on the dialogue form and the dramatic situation, this work complements the main tendencies of the analytical tradition which dominates contemporary Anglo-Saxon writing on Plato.
Hermeneutics is a mantic art involved in the translation of the unintelligible into the intelligible. However, within modern contexts the term possesses a more methodological sense - ‘a universal doctrine for the interpretation of signs’. This conception of hermeneutics was given impetus during the Renaissance with the quest for theological objectivity, but it was with Schleiermacher and other philosophers of the Romantic movement that hermeneutics was viewed as a universal ‘dialogical’ condition. The Romantic conception of hermeneutics was psychologized by Dilthey (...) and re-founded upon the principle of consciousness. With Heidegger became conceived as an ontological phenomenon identical to Existenz itself. For Gadamer, hermeneutics criticizes the ‘pale abstractions’ of Enlightenment conceptions of philosophy for neglecting the work of concepts in philosophy; concepts that have their origins in the self-critical communicative movement of human interpretation. (shrink)
In “Pain,” Hans-Georg Gadamer offers several reflections on the experience of pain and its importance for both modern medicine and hermeneutic thought. Having already celebrated his 100th birthday at the time of this lecture, Gadamer speaks of his own experience with polio and the pains of old age, and the influence that his friend and physician, Paul Vogler, had on his approach to the treatment of pain. In the year 2000, Gadamer is concerned with the dominance of technology and chemical (...) “pain management” in the professional medical community, which has largely forgotten the more natural or traditional healing methods in approaching pain and recovery. In light of this, what is crucial for Gadamer is that individuals approach the challenges of pain by taking an active part in their own recovery. For Gadamer, hermeneutics speaks to these encounters with pain and recovery as decisive for human life and understanding. (shrink)
El presente artículo está dedicado al trabajo de Hans-Georg Gadamer titulado “Prometeo y Pandora”, publicado originalmente en español en 1949 en el volumen Goethe. 1749 - 28 de agosto – 1949, editado por la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad de Cuyo, Argentina. En primer lugar, se ofrece una introducción en la que se presenta el contexto original histórico-intelectual de su edición, traducción y publicación, los antecedentes filosóficos del texto dentro de la obra de Gadamer (conferencias y artículos (...) previos sobre el tema), una presentación breve de las fuentes y de los temas que trata el texto, así como una serie de aclaraciones sobre las correcciones que se realizaron para esta edición crítica. En segundo lugar, se ofrece una nueva edición de “Prometeo y Pandora”. Este ensayo es uno de los dos primeros trabajos de Gadamer que fueron traducidos al castellano y, a su vez, una de las primeras traducciones de las producciones de Gadamer a una lengua extranjera. //--// The following investigation focuses on the article of Hans-Georg Gadamer entitled “Prometheus and Pandora”, originally published in Spanish in 1949, in the book: "Goethe. 1749 – 28th August – 1949", edited by the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Cuyo, Argentina. Firstly, an introduction is offered in which is presented the original historical-intellectual context of its edition, translation and publication, the philosophical background of the text within Gadamer’s work (conferences and previous articles on the subject), a brief description of the sources and topics encompassed in the text, as well as a series of clarifications on the corrections made for the current critical edition. This essay is one of the first two works by Gadamer that were translated into Spanish and, in turn, one of the first translations of Gadamer's productions into a foreign language. (shrink)
The essay “Was ist der Mensch?” appeared for the first time in December 1944 in the German magazine with a hundred years of tradition edited by the publisher J. J. Weber Illustrierte Zeitung Leipzig [Illustrated Magazine Leipzig]. This special cultural edition, entitled Der europäische Mensch [The European Man], which was distributed exclusively abroad, was to be the last volume of the magazine after its final regular issue in September 1994 (No. 5041). Only in 1947, the text was republished, with the (...) same pagination, in a compilation made by J. J. Weber, Vom Wahren, Schönen, Guten. Aus dem Schatz europäischer Kunst und Kultur [On the True, the Beautiful, the Good. From the Treasury of European Art and Culture]. The publisher was expropriated in 1948, and three years later the company was finally removed from the German commercial registry. “Was ist der Mensch?” has never been released in any of Gadamer’s books or separately published in a journal; it also does not appear within the 10 volumes of his Gesammelte Werke [Collected Works]—the only exception is an Italian translation included in a volume devoted to Gadamer’s views on education and the notion of Bildung (cf. Gadamer 2012). The aim of this translation is to make accessible this Gadamer’s quest for the occidental interpretations of human self-consciousness, which has until now been almost unknown and in which, for the first time, Gadamer shows, from a theoretical standpoint, not only his early—although implicit—keen interest in Max Scheler’s anthropology (particularly Scheler’s considerations on the basic historical types of the occidental man’s self-perception in accordance with the basic and underlying concept of human history that still have powerful effectiveness in modern times), but also—at the historical threshold of the imminent ending of World War II—his own concern regarding possible philosophical answers to the question: “What is man?” Cf. especially Scheler 1926 (GW 9, 120–144); 1928 (GW 9, 7–71); 1929 (GW 9, 145–170). All commenting annotations to Gadamer’s text are authored by the editor and translator. (shrink)
This volume presents six lively conversations with Hans-Georg Gadamer, one of the twentieth century’s master philosophers. Looking back over his life and thought, Gadamer takes up key issues in his philosophy, addresses points of controversy, and replies to his critics, including those who accuse him of having been in complicity with the Nazis. A genial and direct conversationalist, Gadamer is here captured at his best and most accessible. The interviews took place between 1989 and 1996, and all but one appear (...) in English for the first time in this volume. The first three conversations, conducted by Heidelberg philosopher Carsten Dutt, deal with hermeneutics, aesthetics, and practical philosophy and the question of ethics. In a fourth conversation, with University of Heidelberg classics professor Glenn W. Most, Gadamer argues for the vital importance of the Greeks for our contemporary thinking. In the next, the philosopher reaffirms his connection with phenomenology and clarifies his relation to Husserl and Heidegger in a conversation with London philosopher Alfons Grieder. In the final interview, with German Nazi expert Dörte von Westernhagen, Gadamer describes his life as a struggling young professor in Germany in the 1930s and refutes accusations of his complicity with the Nazis. These conversations are a lucid introduction for readers new to the philosopher’s thought, and for experts they present an invaluable commentary on Gadamer’s most important themes. (shrink)
_Plato's Dialectical Ethics,_ Gadamer's earliest work, has now been translated into English for the first time. This classic book, published in 1931 and reprinted in 1967 and 1982, is still important today. It is one of the most extensive and imaginative interpretations of Plato's _Philebus_ and an ideal introduction to Gadamer's thinking. It shows how his influential hermeneutics emerged from the application of his teacher Martin Heidegger's phenomenological method to classical texts and problems. The work consists of two chapters. The (...) first, which puts Socratic/Platonic dialectics and ethics in the context of Gadamer's thinking about how we come to shared understanding through conversation, helps to clarify the intentions and trajectory of all Gadamer's subsequent work. The second chapter, on the _Philebus, _will interest everyone who is concerned with the connection between Plato's discussions of ethics and those of Aristotle, and with the substantive issues of the relation between pleasure and reason that Plato explores and Gadamer interprets. This edition includes a new and useful introduction by the translator, Robert M. Wallace. (shrink)
It has been claimed, out of admiration for the great thinker, that his political errors have nothing to do with his philosophy. If only we could be content with that! Wholly unnoticed was how damaging such a “defense” of so important a thinker really is. And how could it be made consistent with the fact that the same man, in the fifties, saw and said things about the industrial revolution and technology that today are still truly astonishing for their foresight?In (...) any case: no surprise should be expected from those of us who, for fifty years, have reflected on what dismayed us in those days and separated us from Heidegger for many years: no surprise when we hear that in 1933—and for years previous, and for how long after?—he “believed” in Hitler. But Heidegger was also no mere opportunist. If we wish to dignify his political engagement by calling it a “standpoint,” it would be far better to call it a political “illusion,” which had notably little to do with political reality. If Heidegger later, in the face of all realities, would again dream his dream from those days, the dream of a “people’s religion” [Volksreligion], the later version would embrace his deep disappointment over the actual course of affairs. But he continued guarding that dream—and kept silent about it. Earlier, in 1933 and 1934, he thought he was following his dream, and fulfilling his deepest philosophical mission, when he tried to revolutionize the university from the ground up. It was for that that he did everything that horrified us at that time. For him the sole issue was to break the political influence of the church and the tenacity of academic bossdom. Even Ernst Jünger’s vision of “the worker” [der Arbeiter] was given a place beside his own ideas about overcoming the metaphysical tradition via the reawakening of Being. Later, as is known, Heidegger wandered all the way to his radical talk of the end of philosophy. That was his “revolution.” Hans-Georg Gadamer is professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Heidelberg. His books include Truth and Method, Philosophical Hermeneutics, The Idea of the Good in Platonic-Aristotelian Philosophy, and The Relevance of the Beautiful and Other Essays. John McCumber, associate professor of philosophy at Northwestern University, is the author of Poetic Interaction: Language, Freedom, Reason. (shrink)
In the years shortly before and after the publication of his classic _Truth and Method_, the eminent German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer returned often to questions surrounding religion and ethics. In this selection of writings from _Gesammelte Werke_ that are here translated into English for the first time, Gadamer probes deeply into the hermeneutic significance of these subjects. Gadamer raises issues of importance to ethicists and theologians as well as students of language and literature. In such outstanding essays as "Kant and (...) the Question of God," "Thinking as Redemption: Plotinus between Plato and Augustine," and "Friendship and Self-Knowledge: Reflections on the Role of Friendship in Greek Ethics," Gadamer discusses the nature of moral behavior, ethics as a form of knowing, and the hermeneutic task of mediating ethos and philosophical ethics with one another. (shrink)