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A Hermeneutical Encounter with Gadamer’s Philosophical Hermeneutics

Wednesday, 19 September, 2007 - 15:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Faculty: Arts and Philosophy
Alireza Azadi
phd defence

This thesis is an investigation of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics, by reviewing his magnum opus Truth and Method and by emphasizing the key elements of his hermeneutical thought. The goal of this study is twofold: getting a deeper understanding of Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics and coming to a constructive dialogue with his critics. To bring to light his position in the history of hermeneutics, I found it necessary to offer a short historical review of hermeneutics, including pre-modern and modern thinkers. Hence, the hermeneutical thoughts of three major theorists, that is, Schleiermacher, Dilthey, and Heidegger are considered here to be very important and worthy of being discussed. Gadamer has experienced criticism in more than forty years since the original German publication, Wahrheit und Methode, in 1960. Educated at Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium, Pol Vandevelde, in his newly (2005) published book entitled “The Task of the Interpreter: Text, Meaning, and Negotiation,” has criticized Gadamer's hermeneutics. He charges Gadamer with the same accusations which previously were formulated by Betti and Hircsh, but in a new format. After sketching his critiques I have attempted to investigate them critically. This work ends with an assessment of Gadamer’s position against relativism.