David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14 (2):221 – 236 (2006)
Certain critics, e.g. Manfred Frank and Hans-Herbert Kögler, claim that Hans-Georg Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics reduces the individual subject to a mere instrument of history and tradition, the latter reproducing themselves through the subject. However, Gadamer also emphasizes the active role of the subject in shaping and creating history and tradition. In this article I argue that the critics mistakenly emphasize a one-sided conception of history. By incorporating both active and passive aspects of the subject, Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics provides the means by which the individual may be conceived more aptly in an interdependent, dialectical relation to their corresponding historical, cultural, and social context.
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