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Gadamer, Hans-Georg (1900–2002)

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


German philosopher, a student of Heidegger, the leading exponent of hermeneutics, born in Marburg, taught at Leipzig, Frankfurt, and Heidelberg. Gadamer developed philosophical hermeneutics to deal with the fundamental conditions that underlie understanding and interpretation. He took understanding to be the basic feature of human existence and field that hermeneutics should be ontological rather than methodological. All understanding and interpretation presupposes prejudices and involves a fusion of the present horizon of the interpreter and the historical horizon of the text. Interpretation is a virtual dialogue and a historical process. Because human studies are caught up in a hermeneutic circle, it is inappropriate to demand objectivity and neutrality in human sciences. Gadamer's hermeneutics have been applied in law, theology, and literature. His major work is Truth and Method (1960), and the other works include Philosophical Hermeneutics (1976), Klein Schriften , 4 vols. (1972–9), and Reason in the Age of Science (1981). ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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