Festivals of Interpretation
Essays on Hans-Georg Gadamer's Work
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This book engages and clarifies concepts crucial to Hans-Georg Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics, including the concepts of effective-history, tradition, dialogue, and language. Festivals of Interpretation exhibits the universal scope of hermeneutics.
The authors respond to three questions often raised about Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics. Part One takes up the question of how Gadamer understands truth. It discusses how hermeneutical truth relates to methods, how truth may be thought to be historically conditioned without at the same time being relative, and how a truthful interpretation can produce a new understanding while simultaneously remaining faithful to the text.
Part Two brings out the political, legal, and social relevance of Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics by focusing on the role interpretation plays in times of political crisis, of disputes in Constitutional law, of changing ideas of societal needs such as health care, and of increased technological control of public opinion.
The last question often asked about Gadamer's work concerns its relation to poetry. Part Three treats the challenge posed to philosophy by poetry in general and particularly by the poetry of Paul Celan as well as questions raised recently by Jacques Derrida about different ways of thinking about interpretation and text.
Kathleen Wright is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Haverford College.