Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002)


Key figures:

Hermeneutics; critical hermeneutics;


Gadamer was´┐Ż concerned with the way that we find meaning in texts and the interpretation of the past. He brings about a relativist reaction to traditional hermeneutics by dissembling their claims to objective reconstruction of the past. For Gadamer our embeddedness in the social world means that our preconceptions and prejudices are inevitably part of our approach to unfamiliar things, and thus meaning is always a contemporary fusion of different horizons, having as we do, no other means to understanding except our own conjuncture. Meaning then is not something that can be reproduced in original form but is contextual and contemporary.

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  • Truth and Method (1960);
  • Philosophical Hermeneutics (1967);
  • Dialogue and Dialectic (1980);
  • Reason in the Age of Science (1982);
  • The relevance of the beautiful and other essays (1986);
  • Plato's dialectical ethics: phenomenological interpretations relating to the Philebus (1991);
  • Literature and philosophy in dialogue: essays in German literary theory (1994);
  • The enigma of health: the art of healing in a scientific age (1996)
  • Dialogue and Deconstruction: The Gadamer-Derrida Encounter, (1989)
  • Gadamer's Hermeneutics: A Reading of Truth and Method, Joel Weinsheimer (1985)
  • Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis, Richard Bernstein (1983)
  • Hermeneutics, Richard E. Palmer (1969)
  • The Critical Circle, David Couzens Hoy (1978)

Some commentaries and interpretation (dmoz.org)