Gadamer and the universality of hermeneutical reflection
Article [Version of Record]
Is part ofIthaque ; no. 20, pp. 23-49.
Publisher(s)Société Philosophique Ithaque
In this paper I defend Gadamer’s claim that the scope of hermeneutical reflection is universal. I consider Habermas’s critique of Gadamer—in particular, his objection that language and tradition are ideological. I argue that Gadamer’s elaboration of the historical ground of hermeneutic experience supports the key implication of his understanding of the relationship between thinking and being, which is that the conditions for reflection upon our preconceptions of meaning are themselves mediated through language as effective history. In response to Habermas’s criticisms, hermeneutical reflection is therefore able to emancipate the interpreter from ideological forms of consciousness by understanding them as effective history.