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Truth and Method

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,906 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
Written in the 1960s, Truth and Method is Gadamer's magnum opus. An astonishing synthesis of literary criticism, philosophy, theology, the theory of law and classical scholarship, it is undoubtedly one of the most important texts in twentieth century philosophy. Looking behind the self-consciousness of science, he discusses the tense relationship between truth and methodol ...more
Paperback, 601 pages
Published December 7th 2004 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published January 1st 1960)
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Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Not to be recommended to the casual reader. By any stretch. Specialists only.

Here’s a few reasons why you’ll wanna pass ::

You want a text address’d to you in your average everydayness sitting at the lunch counter at the local Diner.

Do you know the names Schleiermacher or Dilthey? Those are the famous thinkers discussed.

You believe that the Method of (emperico-naturalistico-quantito) science is the very finest and last arbiter of Truth.

You don’t already know what the ‘hermeneutic circle’ is an
David M
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I find the idea of rating Truth and Method on a star system kind of offensive after Gadamer did so much to overturn the ontological prejudice that being is what can be quantified.

Reading this book was one of the joys of my life (I finished it July 4 three years ago, happy to ignore the jingoistic explosions all around me), and I honestly didn't find it all that difficult. I wouldn't lie about that: who would deny that continental philosophy is often EXTREMELY difficult? At times in my reading l
John Roberson
Dec 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wow, Gadamer really knocks it out of the park. It's a long, fairly dense book -- sorry -- but he's basically undermining the modern conception of "objective truth." Now, I don't mean that he's treating truth less seriously or holding out a vacuous "anything goes" mentality; rather, he argues that we have built such an abstract conception of proof and objectivity that we've actually *lost* truth in the process. Instead he suggests we recover the fact that real human knowing and existing occurs in ...more
Jacob Aitken
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: phenomenology

This is one of those great moments where a great student follows his master (Heidegger) yet gives us a new product and not simply a repetition of his master. In short, for Gadamer language is the horizon of being. As Kant was wrong to seek a thing-in-itself, so we also should beware of a "meaning-in-itself."

Gadamer begins and ends his work on a strange note: the aesthetics and interpretation of art. It’s not that art determines how we interpret text, but art allows Gadamer to illustrate (no pun
Jul 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest philosophical writings of the twentieth century, and one of the few that actually matters. As the status of science rose in modernity Gadamer sets out to justify the relevance of the humanities and show the possibility and importance of non-scientific truth.

A long and technical book. Not to be read without a decent background in Continental philosophy and some serious patience.
David Withun
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: language
Although Gadamer wrote this before the major work of Derrida and Foucault was published, this work stands as a very worth rebuttal to many of the claims of the two great postmodernists and those of a similar ilk. While, under the influence of Nietzsche, Freud, and Heidegger and after the late 1960s especially, many in the fields of linguistics and hermeneutics, as well as the humanities more generally, were willing to abandon the search for truth qua truth in favor of an amalgamated individualis ...more
Steven Peterson
May 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Hans-Georg Gadamer's "Truth and Method" must be considered alongside the great works of Dilthey, Husserl, and Heidegger as a 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
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Gadamer is in the line of thinkers devoted to hermeneutics, a field of thought that at one time desired to build a science of the interpretation of texts. Gadamer completely disputes the science, but acknowledges his part in the tradition that saught a true method in achieving communion with the text. In the modern, academic form of hermeneutics, these texts were often historical. Thus, the question of how one could open oneself to the necessarily foreign world of another historical situation be ...more
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gadamer's erudition in the field of history of hermeneutics is impressive, but a less informed reader such as I am can often find himself in a difficult situation of having to interpret polemics with a thesis he doesn't know. All these obstacles are overweighted by the depth and clarity of author's insight when he starts to explore the problem itself. How can we understand historical tradition? Exposing inner contradictions of subjectivistic or relativistic historism he concludes that the hermen ...more
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical
Heidegger's Being and Time is my favorite book. Matter of fact it's my first original source philosophy book I ever read. But, as I was reading it I had no idea why he would have long quotes from Dilthy and Count Yorck in the book, and I didn't realize what Husserl's Phenomenology really was, or what Aesthetics and Judgment really meant, or what was meant by Hermeneutics. This book lays the background for those items and more, and I wish I had read this book before I read Heidegger.

The pre-Socr
Sep 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
How many thousand-page books are worth it?
Matthew Stanley
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this text, Gadamer provides us with an account of understanding that he hopes will counter the Enlightenment project of 'objectivity' and rationalism. Gadamer begins his account of understanding, that is, coming to know something true about the world, by recovering art as a means of gaining knowledge. The enlightenment had effectively marginalized art as a means of knowing, reducing it to expression of psychological states and thus meaning becomes located in the subjective process of the act ...more
Oct 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: criticism
A book of this erudition is like sending your brain to a mental bootcamp. It is a book of ideas (or rather the history of certain ideas) and where the author believes he has a new one to introduce. Gadamer painstaking outlines his contribution by tracing the faintest shadow where it has already been illuminated even slightly, in the works of other authors gone before him. Even if the authors are many centuries old. There are frequent references to Kant, Hegel, Aristotle, Pascal, Spinoza, Mill, H ...more
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is another book that may have killed me but I have endured and won the battle. This is a very fascinating book that is a translation of German philosophy regarding how we determine truth in the humanities. Some really beautiful moments, and lots of ideas that resonated with me. However, like Derrida, the text is often too dense and he seems to purposely be difficult. For that he does not get five stars! What else can a reader do??? Punish philosophers by withholding stars. That will do it. ...more
Aug 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paper
Hermeneutics, properly done, is cool. Also, this book is about the most systematic and all-encompassing as you'll find on the topic, and, as Gadamer shows, it applies to every area of learning, as well as character formation and ethics.
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly challenging to read, but the chapter on hermeneutics changed my life.
Ich wollte doch auch mal mit einem Titel aufploppen, den ich gerade wieder lese.
Laurens Trommel
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
"Zo bestaat er beslist geen verstaan dat vrij zou zijn van alle vooroordelen, hoezeer onze behoefte aan kennis er ook op gericht moet zijn onder de ban van onze vooroordelen uit te komen. In ons hele onderzoek is gebleken dat de zekerheid die het gebruik van wetenschappelijke methoden biedt niet volstaat om waarheid te garanderen. Dat geldt in het bijzonder voor de geesteswetenschappen, wat echter niet betekent dat deze minder wetenschappelijk zouden zijn. Integendeel, uit ons onderzoek is geble ...more
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
A brilliant introduction to the practice of hermeneutics (the art of understanding). Gadamer manages to clearly describe the conditions for understanding, revealing many great ideas also present in Derrida, Levinas and others. The advantage of Gadamer is that he explains these ideas with rigor and systematically. It is not an easy book, but due to Gadamer's skill in explaining, the ideas manage to get across quite well.

Especially noteworthy is the unbelievable achievement of Gadamer to cross the
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The work of Gadamer has transformed my life on an individual and spiritual level. This work is dense and thorough. The application of the mode of thought discussed is all encompassing and difficult to employ as it can hardly be called a method. In many ways I am more lost than when I started studying hermeneutics. I feel like this is possible the most important philosophical text of our time and essential for anyone working in the humanities or social sciences. Too underrated and unknown for the ...more
Nov 01, 2012 added it
Gadamer's Truth and Method is treatise on his thoughts on hermeneutics. He examines hermeneutics through the lens of language and assesses the issues language brings to understanding. Gadamer's writing is difficult, therefore, it is important to get a worthy translation. The first two thirds of the book will make no sense unless the last thirds is read. I found it very helpful in developing a complete understanding of the field of hermeneutics, but it is not a book for everyone.
Apr 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is Gadamer's Magnum Opus. It's not a light read, but deeply enriching if you put the time into it. I consider it the definitive book of the twentieth century on Hermeneutics. If you are interested in interpretation, translation theory, and philosophies of experience, this is a must read. My own understanding of the Islamic tradition is greatly informed by many of the points made in this fairly hefty tome.
Alex Obrigewitsch
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I completely respect this work for its place in the tradition of thought, and what it has done for tradition.
That being said, it is not an enjoyable read. I thoroughly enjoy reading Heidegger, and I felt that having read Heidegger made much of Gadamer's work somewhat superfluous and repetitive.
The thought on play was probably one of the most innovative sections of the work.
This is an important text for tradition, but I think that its place has been somewhat superseded and displaced.
Tyson Guthrie
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Gadamer is a pivotal figure in hermeneutics. He seeks to disarm the readers confidence in method as the source of truth in hermeneutics, rather the text is allowed to speak for ask its own questions, and to encounter the reader in their time through the tradition to which both the reader and the text belong.
Jul 29, 2015 marked it as read-in-part  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: maesfilo
Filosofía de la Historia. Clase 3. Leí el capítulo 9. También obligatoria para Filosofía del Lenguaje.

Me resultó bastante pesado y difícil de entender. Creo que leer de a pedazos tampoco ayuda.

Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
I am a believer in hermeneutics. This book has shaped the way I look at and interpret the world to a great degree. It shapes how I write as well.
One of the best books i've ever read. It invites you to speculate and to question things you may not have noticed before.
Oct 23, 2007 marked it as owned-for-years-but-still-not-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: i would not
Long story.

(Not really.)

Long book, though.
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una hermenéutica adecuada debe mostrar en la comprensión misma la realidad de la historia. Entender es, esencialmente, un proceso de historia efectual.
Greg Coates
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this was good!
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  • Oneself as Another
  • Hegel
  • Process and Reality
  • Totality and Infinity:  An Essay on Exteriority
  • Difference and Repetition
  • Matter and Memory
  • The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1981-82
  • Anatheism: Returning to God After God
  • Phenomenology of Perception
  • Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology
  • Hermeneutics: Interpretation Theory in Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger and Gadamer
  • Whose Community? Which Interpretation?: Philosophical Hermeneutics for the Church
  • Being and Event
  • Introduction to Metaphysics
  • Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
  • The Life of the Mind
  • The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change
  • Margins of Philosophy
Hans-Georg Gadamer was born February 11, 1900 in Marburg, Germany.
(Arabic: هانز جورج غادامير)

Gadamer showed an early aptitude for studies in philosophy and after receiving his doctoral degree in 1922 he went on to work directly under Martin Heidegger for a period of five years. This had a profound and lasting effect on Gadamer's philosophical progression.

Gadamer was a teacher for most of his lif
More about Hans-Georg Gadamer...

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“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.” 12 likes
“In truth history does not belong to us but rather we to it.” 11 likes
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