Originating from a confrontation with the contemporary French thought, especially with Jacques Derrida, the article discusses the question of the relation between text and interpretation. It receives the basic impulse for the deliberation on the theme from the tradition of hermeneutics and from the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, from his considerations upon the subjects of the circle of understanding and the phenomenon of language. What is the relation of the text towards the language? What comes from the language forth into (...) the text? What does understanding between speakers mean and what does it mean that there can be commonly given to us something like texts, or even that in mutual understanding something comes into being that is, like a text, one and the same thing for us? How has the concept of the text been able to undergo such a universal extension? In this theme more is at stake than reflections upon the methodology of the philological sciences. Text is more than a title for the subject matter of literary research. Interpretation is more than the technique of scientifically interpreting texts. (shrink)
English summary: Gadamer's main work, Truth and Method, will be published in 2010, exactly 50 years after the first edition, in a slightly corrected version as an inexpensive student edition. This is seen as one of the few standard works of German post-war philosophy which has achieved worldwide recognition. The huge reaction to this is surprising for many reasons, among other things because in this work an important new theory is presented in intimations only using the author's own conceptual instruments; (...) in fact the author is careful when touching on ancient themes in the philosophical approach to the world. The main question in the work is: What actually happens when we understand? Gadamer focuses on the historical dimensions of understanding, including his famous rehabilitation of prejudice. In addition to the systematic excursus, the book contains an intellectual history of hermeneutics, which is convincing in its virtuosity in dealing with a variety of inspirational figures such as Hegel, Dilthey, Husserl and Heidegger. The amiability and objectivity with which Gadamer invites his readers to a discussion are what account for the enormous influence of this exemplary textbook. German description: Wir sagen, dass wir ein Gesprach fuhren, aber je eigentlicher ein Gesprach ist, desto weniger liegt die Fuhrung desselben in dem Willen des einen oder anderen Partners. Was bei einem Gesprach herauskommt, weiss keiner vorher. Das Hauptwerk Wahrheit und Methode erscheint 2010, genau 50 Jahre nach der Erstausgabe, in durchgesehener und korrigierter Form als preiswerte Studienausgabe. Dieses Buch, das sein Autor erst im Alter von 60 Jahren schrieb, wurde zu einem Uberraschungserfolg der philosophischen Literatur. Als eines der wenigen weltweit anerkannten Standardwerke der deutschen Nachkriegsphilosophie wurde es in viele Sprachen ubersetzt.Die grosse Resonanz konnte aus vielerlei Grunden erstaunen, unter anderem weil hier nur in Andeutungen eine grosse neue Theorie mit eigenem begrifflichen Instrumentarium vorgestellt wird; der Autor umkreist vorsichtig uralte Themen des philosophischen Weltzugangs. Vor allem geht es um die Frage: Was geschieht eigentlich, wenn wir verstehen? Er stellt die geschichtliche Dimension des Verstehens in den Mittelpunkt, auch durch seine beruhmte Rehabilitierung des Vorurteils. Die systematischen Exkurse werden erganzt durch eine Geistesgeschichte der Hermeneutik, die in ihrer virtuosen Behandlung so unterschiedlicher Anreger wie Hegel, Dilthey, Husserl und Heidegger uberzeugt. Die Freundlichkeit und Sachlichkeit, mit der Gadamer seinen Leser ins Gesprach einladt, machen den Rang dieses vorbildlichen Lehrbuchs aus. (shrink)
This essay was Gadamer 's position paper in the April 1981 “debate” with Derrida at a conference on “Text and Interpretation” held at the Sorbonne in Paris. In it he discusses his approach to texts and several elements of Derrida's philosophy,..
This volume makes available for the first time in English the most important of Hans-Georg Gadamer's extensive writings on art and literature. The principal text included is 'The Relevance of the Beautiful', Gadamer's most sustained treatment of philosophical aesthetics. The eleven other essays focus particularly on the challenge issued by modern painting and literature to our customary ideas of art, and use that challenge to revitalize our understanding of it. Gadamer demonstrates the continuing importance of such concepts as imitation, truth, (...) symbol, and play for our appreciation of contemporary art, and thereby establishes its continuity with the Western tradition. The essays here are not technical and are readily accessible to the beginning student and the general reader. The collection as a whole serves to illustrate the practice of hermeneutics and to introduce Gadamer's thought. Robert Bernasconi provides an introduction clarifying the central aims of the essays and their relations to Gadamer's major work, Truth and Method, and to the philosophy of art since Kant. A bibliography of Gadamer's writings available in English is also included. (shrink)
Understanding is a ‘language event’ founded upon a ‘silent agreement’ between participants in a conversation. This silent agreement, built up of conversational aspects held in common, is what makes social solidarity possible and shows that the methods of science are an inappropriate starting point for our self-understanding. However, with the advent of industrial technical civilization, the question arises whether understanding has come under the control of a centrally steered communication system where language is a consciously wielded instrument of politics with (...) a corresponding loss of free insight and critical judgement. Only via a hermeneutic logic of words, which begins from recognition that words get their meaning from the open space of living conversation, can critical judgement be defended in the face of the authority of science and technology. (shrink)
Johann Gottfried Herder: Auch eine Philosophie der Geschichte zur Bildung der Menschheit Edition Holzinger. Taschenbuch Berliner Ausgabe, 2013 Vollständiger, durchgesehener Neusatz mit einer Biographie des Autors bearbeitet und eingerichtet von Michael Holzinger Erstdruck: Erstdruck: o.O. 1774 (anonym). Textgrundlage ist die Ausgabe: Sturm und Drang. Weltanschauliche und ästhetische Schriften. Herausgegeben von Peter Müller, Band 1-2, Berlin und Weimar: Aufbau, 1978. Herausgeber der Reihe: Michael Holzinger Reihengestaltung: Viktor Harvion Umschlaggestaltung unter Verwendung des Bildes: Johann Gottfried Herder (Gemälde von Anton Graff, 1785).
The author approaches Plato's dialogues as live discussions in which the concrete concerns of the participants define the horizons of discourse. He takes up such perplexing problems of Plato's though as the role of poetry in the state and the theory of ideal numbers and brings to them a fresh understanding. With its emphasis on the dialogue form and the dramatic situation, this work complements the main tendencies of the analytical tradition which dominates contemporary Anglo-Saxon writing on Plato.
Hermeneutics is a mantic art involved in the translation of the unintelligible into the intelligible. However, within modern contexts the term possesses a more methodological sense - ‘a universal doctrine for the interpretation of signs’. This conception of hermeneutics was given impetus during the Renaissance with the quest for theological objectivity, but it was with Schleiermacher and other philosophers of the Romantic movement that hermeneutics was viewed as a universal ‘dialogical’ condition. The Romantic conception of hermeneutics was psychologized by Dilthey (...) and re-founded upon the principle of consciousness. With Heidegger became conceived as an ontological phenomenon identical to Existenz itself. For Gadamer, hermeneutics criticizes the ‘pale abstractions’ of Enlightenment conceptions of philosophy for neglecting the work of concepts in philosophy; concepts that have their origins in the self-critical communicative movement of human interpretation. (shrink)
This volume presents six lively conversations with Hans-Georg Gadamer, one of the twentieth century’s master philosophers. Looking back over his life and thought, Gadamer takes up key issues in his philosophy, addresses points of controversy, and replies to his critics, including those who accuse him of having been in complicity with the Nazis. A genial and direct conversationalist, Gadamer is here captured at his best and most accessible. The interviews took place between 1989 and 1996, and all but one appear (...) in English for the first time in this volume. The first three conversations, conducted by Heidelberg philosopher Carsten Dutt, deal with hermeneutics, aesthetics, and practical philosophy and the question of ethics. In a fourth conversation, with University of Heidelberg classics professor Glenn W. Most, Gadamer argues for the vital importance of the Greeks for our contemporary thinking. In the next, the philosopher reaffirms his connection with phenomenology and clarifies his relation to Husserl and Heidegger in a conversation with London philosopher Alfons Grieder. In the final interview, with German Nazi expert Dörte von Westernhagen, Gadamer describes his life as a struggling young professor in Germany in the 1930s and refutes accusations of his complicity with the Nazis. These conversations are a lucid introduction for readers new to the philosopher’s thought, and for experts they present an invaluable commentary on Gadamer’s most important themes. (shrink)
In this interview with Jean Grondin, Gadamer discusses the meaning ‘linguisticality’ and acknowledges his intellectual debt to Heidegger, Augustine, Vico and classical Greek philosophy. Heidegger’s influence on Gadamer can be seen in Gadamer’s awareness of pernicious ontological effects of the Latinization of European language, his awareness of the centrality of technology to the understanding of contemporary philosophical problems and the idea that ‘language speaks’. From Augustine, Gadamer derived his theory of the word as that which cannot be known and brought (...) under control; from Vico the idea that language is rhetorical; and from classical philosophy the Aristotelian idea of phronesis and the Platonic idea that the idea of beauty is inseparable from the idea of the good. Gadamer concludes the interview with a discussion of the need for humanity to overcome its present fascination with technology. (shrink)
It has been claimed, out of admiration for the great thinker, that his political errors have nothing to do with his philosophy. If only we could be content with that! Wholly unnoticed was how damaging such a “defense” of so important a thinker really is. And how could it be made consistent with the fact that the same man, in the fifties, saw and said things about the industrial revolution and technology that today are still truly astonishing for their foresight?In (...) any case: no surprise should be expected from those of us who, for fifty years, have reflected on what dismayed us in those days and separated us from Heidegger for many years: no surprise when we hear that in 1933—and for years previous, and for how long after?—he “believed” in Hitler. But Heidegger was also no mere opportunist. If we wish to dignify his political engagement by calling it a “standpoint,” it would be far better to call it a political “illusion,” which had notably little to do with political reality. If Heidegger later, in the face of all realities, would again dream his dream from those days, the dream of a “people’s religion” [Volksreligion], the later version would embrace his deep disappointment over the actual course of affairs. But he continued guarding that dream—and kept silent about it. Earlier, in 1933 and 1934, he thought he was following his dream, and fulfilling his deepest philosophical mission, when he tried to revolutionize the university from the ground up. It was for that that he did everything that horrified us at that time. For him the sole issue was to break the political influence of the church and the tenacity of academic bossdom. Even Ernst Jünger’s vision of “the worker” [der Arbeiter] was given a place beside his own ideas about overcoming the metaphysical tradition via the reawakening of Being. Later, as is known, Heidegger wandered all the way to his radical talk of the end of philosophy. That was his “revolution.” Hans-Georg Gadamer is professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Heidelberg. His books include Truth and Method, Philosophical Hermeneutics, The Idea of the Good in Platonic-Aristotelian Philosophy, and The Relevance of the Beautiful and Other Essays. John McCumber, associate professor of philosophy at Northwestern University, is the author of Poetic Interaction: Language, Freedom, Reason. (shrink)
In the years shortly before and after the publication of his classic _Truth and Method_, the eminent German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer returned often to questions surrounding religion and ethics. In this selection of writings from _Gesammelte Werke_ that are here translated into English for the first time, Gadamer probes deeply into the hermeneutic significance of these subjects. Gadamer raises issues of importance to ethicists and theologians as well as students of language and literature. In such outstanding essays as "Kant and (...) the Question of God," "Thinking as Redemption: Plotinus between Plato and Augustine," and "Friendship and Self-Knowledge: Reflections on the Role of Friendship in Greek Ethics," Gadamer discusses the nature of moral behavior, ethics as a form of knowing, and the hermeneutic task of mediating ethos and philosophical ethics with one another. (shrink)