Library of Living Philosophers, Volume XXIV: The Philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 52 (1):146-148 (1998)

Abstract
Like a typical volume of the Library of Living Philosophers series, this volume has three parts, beginning with a short philosophical autobiography by the philosopher in question, Hans-Georg Gadamer. “Reflections on my Philosophical Journey” is partly a recounting of significant moments of Gadamer’s academic career and his postretirement career as a traveling lecturer, and partly a reassessment of the strengths and shortcomings of his major work, Truth and Method. He seems to wish to defend the political significance of hermeneutics against what he terms, without naming names, “method-fanatics and ideology-critics”. An exploration of the factors that motivated his thinking, he suggests, will prove hermeneutics to possess both methodical rationality and a critical, emancipatory capacity. To this end, he sketches the relation of his central concepts to those of other thinkers, mainly Heidegger, Hegel, Kant, Plato, and Aristotle, emphasizing his recouping of ancient Greek “practical philosophy” against “scholasticism”. Practical philosophy, Gadamer insists, supplies a model of rationality that steers a middle course between absolute conceptual fixity and empty relativism, and can achieve the right balance of openness in unconstrained dialogue, yet remain tied to real human praxis. As such, hermeneutics offers the possibility of relevantly addressing and entering into dialogue with the Other, a capacity perhaps essential to the viability of modern politics.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1998521126
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