Philosophical Influences of Hans Georg GadamerJune 27, 2021
Gadamer takes place in the hermeneutic-spiritual sciences tradition of Friedrich Schleiermacher and Wilhelm Dilthey with his teaching of understanding called “philosophical hermeneutics”. In the twentieth century, with the very important concept of “existence” of Martin Heidegger, who became Gadamer’s teacher, philosophy continues to fulfill its duty of seeking truth in hermeneutics.
What we mean when we say “truth” is a concept of truth that is related to the existential conditions of human experience of the world and that is approached by “understanding” and understood with empathy, not in the sense of objectively “explanatory” methodology of natural sciences.
Gadamer linked this concept of truth to the historical and “tradition” to a greater extent than his predecessors. According to this, “truth” is not something absolute and transcends time, but a phenomenon of historical flow, “history of impact”.
To “understand” truth (that is, to a large extent the meaning of history) is to “enter into the formation of a tradition”. One of the most important points of Gadamer’s hermeneutics is that the understander himself interacts with tradition. It is here that he encounters his object, and therefore must know his “hermeneutical situation” very well in order to do justice to the truth of the historical situation.
On the other hand, Gadamer has only outlined a “consciousness”, without presenting concrete bases, for the solution of how to conceptually understand the distance to the historical situations in question.
Moreover, this important procedure for determining one’s own “hermeneutical” position remains vague in method, since it keeps the concept of tradition in an indefinite generality and does not want to be tied to a concrete, content-specific use.
Gadamer has placed the concept of “tradition” at the center of hermeneutics because in this concept he sees historical interaction as assured. Historical interaction must provide an alternative, spiritually historically oriented and human existence-oriented way of relating to the world vis-à-vis and on a par with the methodology of the natural sciences – in full accordance with the tradition of thought of the spiritual sciences.