Gadamer's transformation of hermeneutics : from Dilthey to Heidegger

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to show how Gadamer's hermeneutics synthesizes the insights of both Heidegger and Dilthey in order to introduce a new hermeneutics. Gadamer's hermeneutics is based not only on the priority of ontology, as Heidegger insists, and neither is it only a product of life which can be objectively understood through study and rigorous method, as Dilthey suggests. For Gadamer, hermeneutics is the bringing together of ontology in terms of history. By this synthesis Gadamer not only places himself within the context of a Lebensphilosophie, but also shows that it is within language that Being can be disclosed according to a lived context. Throughout this paper the philosophies ofDilthey and Heidegger are explicated within a historical context as to bring out how, and why, Gadamer sees the need to surpass these philosophies. Through Gadamer's philosophy of play and the game, language, the dialogical model, application, and the fusion of horizons we can see how Gadamer's critique and questioning of these two philosophy leads to his new hermeneutics. Special attention is paid to the role in which these two contrasting philosophies were used to complement each other in the product of Gadamer' s philosophical hermeneutics as it is presented in his major work Truth andMethod. For Gadamer, the task of understanding is never complete. Therefore, his hermeneutics remains a dynamic structure with which we can always question the past and our traditions. This paper seeks to show his philosophical movements within these questions
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