Hermeneutical contributions to the history of science: Gadamer on 'presentism'

Abstract
This article examines how Hans G. Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics can contribute to contemporary debates on the concept of ‘presentism’. In the field of the history of science, this term is usually employed in two ways. First, ‘presentism’ refers to the kind of historiography which judges the past to legitimate the present. Second, this concept designates the inevitable influence of the present in the interpretation of the past. In this paper, I argue that both dimensions of the relationship between the present and the past are explored by Hans G. Gadamer in Truth and Method and other texts. In the first place, Gadamer’s critique of historicism calls into question the anti-presentist ideal of studying the past for ‘its own sake’. In the second place, Gadamer’s thesis that all understanding inevitably involves some prejudice poses the question of the inherent “present-centredness” of historical interpretations. By examining Gadamer’s hermeneutics, I seek to provide historians with new arguments and perspectives on the question of ‘presentism’.Keywords: Presentism; Whig history; Philosophical hermeneutics; Gadamer
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 13,345
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Hans-Georg Gadamer (1994). Truth in the Human Sciences. In Brice R. Wachterhauser (ed.), Hermeneutics and Truth. Northwestern University Press. 25--32.
Mary Hesse (1976). Truth and the Growth of Scientific Knowledge. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1976:261 - 280.

View all 13 references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Christian Wuthrich (2012). Demarcating Presentism. In Henk de Regt, Samir Okasha & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), EPSA Philosophy of Science: Amsterdam 2009. Springer. 441--450.
Charles B. Guignon (1982). Saving the Differences: Gadamer and Rorty. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:360 - 367.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-02-25

Total downloads

16 ( #118,359 of 1,679,292 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #183,420 of 1,679,292 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.