Hans-Georg Gadamer Hans-Georg Gadamer > Quotes


Hans-Georg Gadamer quotes (showing 1-16 of 16)

“We cannot understand without wanting to understand, that is, without wanting to let something be said...Understanding does not occur when we try to intercept what someone wants to say to us by claiming we already know it.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer
“In truth history does not belong to us but rather we to it.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
“What man needs is not just the persistent posing of ultimate questions, but the sense of what is feasible, what is possible, what is correct, here and now. The philosopher, of all people, must, I think, be aware of the tension between what he claims to achieve and the reality in which he finds himself.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
“A cultured society that has fallen away from its religious traditions expects more from art than the aesthetic consciousness and the 'standpoint of art' can deliver. The Romantic desire for a new mythology... gives the artist and his task in the world the consciousness of a new consecration. He is something like a 'secular saviour' for his creations are expected to achieve on a small scale the propitiation of disaster for which an unsaved world hopes.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
“It is the tyranny of hidden prejudices that makes us deaf to what speaks to us in tradition.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
“It is the universal nature of human Bildung to constitute itself as a universal intellectual being. Whoever abandons himself to his particularity is ungebildet ("unformed")—e.g., if someone gives way to blind anger without measure or sense of proportion. Hegel shows that basically such a man is lacking in the power of abstraction. He cannot turn his gaze from himself towards something universal, from which his own particular being is determined in measure and proportion.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
“As in play, it rests on a common willingness of the participants in conversation to lend themselves to the emergence of something else, the Sache or subject matter which comes to presence and presentation in conversation.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
“Human science too is concerned with establishing similarities, regularities, and conformities to law which would make it possible to predict individual phenomena and processes. In the field of natural phenomena this goal cannot always be reached everywhere to the same extent, but the reason for this variation is only that sufficient data on which the similarities are to be established cannot always be obtained. Thus the method of meteorology is just the same as that of physics, but its data is incomplete and therefore its predictions are more uncertain.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
“The sensus communis plays no part in Kant—not even in the logical sense. What Kant treats in the transcendental doctrine of judgment—i.e., the doctrine of schematism and the principles—no longer has anything to do with the sensus communis.57 For here we are concerned with concepts that are supposed to refer to their objects a priori, and not with the subsumption of the particular under the universal.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
“The long history of this idea before Kant made it the basis of his Critique of Judgment shows that the concept of taste was originally more a moral than an aesthetic idea.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
“The sense of taste is able to gain the distance necessary for choosing and judging what is the most urgent necessity of life. Thus Gracian already sees in taste a “spiritualization of animality” and rightly points out that there is cultivation (cultura) not only of the mind (ingenio) but also of taste (gusto).”
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
“The same thing is true of the experience of art. Here the scholarly research pursued by the "science of art" is aware from the start that it can neither replace nor surpass the experience of art. The fact that through a work of art a truth is experienced that we cannot attain in any other way constitutes the philosophic importance of art, which asserts itself against all attempts to rationalize it away. Hence, together with the experience of philosophy, the experience of art is the most insistent admonition to scientific consciousness to acknowledge its own limits.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer
“The individual case does not serve only to confirm a law from which practical predictions can be made. Its ideal is rather to understand the phenomenon itself in its unique and historical concreteness. However much experiential universals are involved, the aim is not to confirm and extend these universalized experiences in order to attain knowledge of a law—e.g., how men, peoples, and states evolve—but to understand how this man, this people, or this state is what it has become or, more generally, how it happened that it is so.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
“In fact, certainty exists in very different modes. The kind of certainty afforded by a verification that has passed through doubt is different from the immediate living certainty with which all ends and values appear in human consciousness when they make an absolute claim. But the certainty of science is very different from this kind of certainty that is acquired in life. Scientific certainty always has something Cartesian about it. It is the result of a critical method that seeks only to allow what cannot be doubted. This certainty, then, does not proceed from doubts and their being overcome, but is always anterior to any process of being doubted.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
“In the independent existence that work gives the thing, working consciousness finds itself again as an independent consciousness. Work is restrained desire. In forming the object—that is, in being selflessly active and concerned with a universal—working consciousness raises itself above the immediacy of its existence to universality; or, as Hegel puts it, by forming the thing it forms itself. What he means is that in acquiring a “capacity,” a skill, man gains the sense of himself. What seemed denied him in the selflessness of serving, inasmuch as he subjected himself to a frame of mind that was alien to him, becomes part of him inasmuch as he is working consciousness. As such he finds in himself his own frame of mind, and it is quite right to say of work that it forms. The self-awareness of working consciousness contains all the elements that make up practical Bildung: the distancing from the immediacy of desire, of personal need and private interest, and the exacting demand of a universal.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
“It is no longer a mere critique of taste in the sense that taste is the object of critical judgment by an observer. It is a critique of critique; that is, it is concerned with the legitimacy of such a critique in matters of taste. The issue is no longer merely empirical principles which are supposed to justify a widespread and dominant taste—such as, for example, in the old chestnut concerning the origin of differences in taste—but it is concerned with a genuine a priori that, in itself, would totally justify the possibility of critique.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method


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