The Truth of Hermeneutics: The Self and Other in Dialogue in the Thought of Hans-Georg Gadamer

Dissertation, New School for Social Research (2002)

Lauren Barthold
Endicott College
My aim is to respond to the charge that Gadamer has not been specific enough about a positive account of Truth in Truth in Method. Rather than denying this charge, however, I turn to his writings on Plato in order to develop a more detailed and viable conception of Truth. At the same time, I also seek to show how Gadamer's Truth project relies on, but is not reducible to, Heidegger's notion of aletheia. Assessing Gadamer's Truth project in terms of both Plato and Heidegger results in the claim that Gadamer replaces Heidegger's onto-hermeneutic view of Truth with an ethico-hermeneutic one. What is distinctive about Gadamer's ethico-hermeneutic notion of Truth is that it is characterized by a two-step movement of self away from self and toward another, followed by a Heimkehr. In other words, if we are going to speak about the radicality of Gadamer's Truth project, we must read it as validating the generalization of hermeneutics that is witnessed in its fundamental concern with the Truth of understanding beings, rather than true interpretations of texts as such. The paragon movement of Truth, for Gadamer, is the understanding that occurs with another in light of the Good
Keywords Philosophy
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