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Truth and Method (Continuum Impacts) Paperback – December 7, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0826476975 ISBN-10: 082647697X Edition: 2 Revised

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Product Details

  • Series: Continuum Impacts
  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 2 Revised edition (December 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082647697X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826476975
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.3 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"As a contribution to our understanding of understanding, it ranks with the work of Pierce, Husserl, Cassirer, Wittgenstein, Polanyi, and Lonergan as a highpoint of twentieth century reflection upon the constitutive conditions of knowing....It is impossible to praise the work too highly."—The Thomist

"The single-most important study of the origin, development, and nature of the concept and meaning of 'hermeneutical consciousness' extant."—Review of Metaphysics

"No one interested in hermeneutics and historical understanding can justify neglecting Truth and Method. Gadamer not only reinterprets the history of modern hermeneutics, but he offers his own phenomenology of understanding....His is our century's most creative and ambitious attempt to exorcise the demon of historicism."—Journal of the American Academy of Religion

"One of the major contributions to literary theory of the last few decades....It is a defense of the truth value of texts that seeks to accomodate both the process of historical consciousness and the contingency of the individual subject."—ACLA Newsletter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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My suggestion, for those who wish to read this incredibly important and insightful work, is to get an older printing.
Seth Thomas
Language is not a mere tool by which the participants actively engage in the search for understanding; language is the very medium in which all discourse takes place.
Martin Asiner
The book itself does have a structure/setting that makes it difficult to get into initially (it is usefully read in tandem with a good commentary eg.
david

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is one of my favorite books of all time. It is Gadamer's masterpiece - published when he was sixty years old, and the result of a life time of scholarship. T&M is a critique of romantic hermeneutics -a doctrine that holds that the meaning of a text is identical with the intention of its author. On this account, the purpose of interpretation is to reconstruct the author's intention, the experience they had while writing it that is held in the text. To this Gadamer contrasts his own theory of historically effected consciousness. Gadamer claims that 'understanding a text' involves understanding the tradition of which it (and you) are a part. In the course of doing so, Heidegger ranges over the history of aesthetic theory, phenomenology, and hermenutics, biblical interpretation, as well as examining the nature of all human understanding.
Gadamer is a student of Heidegger. In this book he is interested in demonstrating the way a Heideggerian account of consciousness (and being in the world) can help us make sense of the act of interpretation. He is also interested in demonstrating that one can use Heidegger without being a Nazi or obsessed with anxiety and being-towards-death.
This book is highly technical, the prose if difficult, and demanding (it helps to have read Being and Time, Kant's Critique of Judgement, some Augustine and Aquinas, etc etc etc.). For people who can get into the work, however, it promises a comprehensive theory of human being, the history of philosophy (and indeed, western thought as a whole) and a holistic worldview of unmatched death and detail. And that's no small potatoes.
For those interested in in reading Gadamer but not ready to tackle T&M, I recommend some of the shorter volumes of his speeches and writings. One of these, _Philosophical Hermeneutics_, is (relatively) accessible and generally considered by Gadamerphiles to be 'Truth and Method Lite'.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By david on August 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
First, Truth and Method is a true classic. Basically, it sees Gadamer revitalise 'nonscientific' truth, i.e. the experience of truth inaccessible to method and irreducible to bare statement. The book itself does have a structure/setting that makes it difficult to get into initially (it is usefully read in tandem with a good commentary eg. Joel Weinsheimer's 'Gadamer's Hermeneutics'), but it is simply worth the effort.
Second, the review below is mistaken when it attributes to Gadamer the idea that the Old Testament should be read literally. Gadamer refers to Luther's position that "the Scripture has a univocal sense that can be derived from the text", but he does this as part of an historical overview of hermeneutics and, on the very next page, Luther gets refuted by 18thC historicism. Gadamer moves beyond both these positions to reveal how 'literalism' (and - more pressingly - 'historicism') is a projection of unproductive prejudices. It is an "obstruction", that gets in the way of the truth Gadamer seeks. Also, while T&M is relevant to theology, it should be made clear that Gadamer is writing of a philosophical-universal hermeneutics and not something regional.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By J.S Hukka on March 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
Hans-Georg Gadamer's Truth and Method is a result of sixty years of reflection on the nature of the hermeneutic experience and an exemplary document of lucid and fascinating scholarship. The purpose of the treatise on understanding is `what takes place above our thinking and doing', in other words, the constitutive events in art, literature and ethics.
As Gadamer's examination of the romantic human sciences, or Geisteswissenschaften, is constantly referred back onto the tradition and the sources from which it emerges and supports itself, some background knowledge is required, particularly of classical philosophy, Hegel and Heidegger.
The project of Truth and Method opens by engaging the reader to a critique of Kantian aesthetic exposition, and uses it as a starting-point for an examination of hermeneutics, the art of understanding. In the course of the examination Gadamer does not, however, engage in a dialogue only with the philosophical tradition, but by continuously exploring the universality of the hermeneutic experience demonstrates its relevance and presence in history, study of languages, legal theory and theology.
For a reader coming from the analytic-linguistic tradition, the final section on the hermeneutic character of language should be of particular interest. In it Gadamer outlines his conception of language as the horizon through which the experience of the world is understood. But as throughout the book, the horizon of understanding is not determined solely on the basis of the grammatical or the logical structure present; indeed, the horizon itself is a constant possibility for the historically effected consciousness to gain further self-knowledge through its experience in language as a historically and temporally defined phenomenon.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Steven A. Peterson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
Hans-Georg Gadamer's Truth and Method must be considered alongside the great works of Dilthey, Husserl, and Heidegger as a major treatise on hermeneutics, defined by Gadamer as understanding and the correct interpretation of what has been understood. More commonly, people define hermeneutics as the study/theory of interpretation.

Two major contentions that help frame his analysis are: (1) rejection of the view that proper understanding calls for eliminating the influence of the interpreter's context; (2) rejection of the view that the author's intent in writing a text has any special weight to it.

As to the first point, he argues that it is simply not possible for the interpreter to escape his present situation. He advances the concept of the "horizon." For Gadamer, the horizon is ". . .the range of vision that includes everything that can be seen from a particular vantage point." It is the grounding of the interpreter, including that person's language, that fixes the possibilities of what that person can see and understand. In Gadamer's words, it is

". . .the way in which thought is tied to its finite determination, and the nature of the law of the expansion of the range of vision. A person who has no horizon is a man who does not see far enough and hence over values what is nearest to him. Contrariwise, to have an horizon means not to be limited to what is nearest, but to be able to see beyond it. A person who has an horizon knows the relative significance of everything within this horizon, as near or far, great or small.
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