Gadamer, Hans-Georg

Gadamer, Hans-Georg

(häns` gā`ôrk gă`dəmər), 1900–2002, German philosopher, b. Marburg. He taught at Kiel (1934–37), Marburg (1937–39), Leipzig (1939–74), and Frankfurt (1947–49) before becoming a professor at the Univ. of Heidelberg (1949–68). Influenced by his teacher Martin HeideggerHeidegger, Martin
, 1889–1976, German philosopher. As a student at Freiburg, Heidegger was influenced by the neo-Kantianism of Heinrich Rickert and the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl.
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, he made a major contribution to hermeneuticshermeneutics,
the theory and practice of interpretation. During the Reformation hermeneutics came into being as a special discipline concerned with biblical criticism. The Protestant theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher expanded the discipline from one concerned with removing
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. In his most influential work, Truth and Method (1960, tr. 1975), Gadamer argued that a historian's own situation plays a role in determining the content of his or her interpretation of a historical event, i.e., a historian's own "prejudices" constitute necessary conditions for historical understanding. Gadamer envisaged a task of hermeneutics to be analysis of such prejudices—how they are constituted through language and how they evolve. His other works include Plato's Dialectical Ethics (1931, tr. 1991) and Philosophical Hermeneutics (3 vol., 1967–72, tr. 1976).

Bibliography

See Philosophical Apprenticeships (1977, tr. 1985), his autobiography; G. Warnke, Gadamer (1987).

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What we truly have in common and what unites us remains, so to speak, without a voice"; Hans-Georg Gadamer, Hans-Georg Gadamer on Education, Poetry and History.
Gadamer, Hans-Georg (1995b), 'Text Matters', in Kearney, Richard, States of Mind, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Gadamer, Hans-Georg (1976), Philosophical Hermeneutics, Berkeley: University of Chicago Press (the edition cited in this essay is excerpted in Kearney, Richard and Rainwater, Mara (1996), below).