Truth and Method

Truth and Method - Hans-Georg Gadamer, Joel Weinsheimer, Donald G. Marshall Heidegger's [b:Being and Time|92307|Being and Time|Martin Heidegger||1309352] 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-Socratics and the big three, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle take center stage in this story. It helped me immensely that I concurrently was listening to [b:An Introduction to Greek Philosophy|1866024|An Introduction to Greek Philosophy (Great Courses, #4477)|David Roochnik||1866787]. The author pretty much just assumed the reader would know Parmenides from Heraclitus and the difference each implied. So, this book really excels at using what I've learned elsewhere and putting it into practice. He'll do the same with Hegel and Kant.

I'd say that the author definitely didn't like the Enlightenment (for the usual reasons), he liked the Romantics, but really loved the post-Romantics (Schopenhauer, Dilthy and Count Yorck). Since I've recently read [b:Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit: The Idealistic Logic of Modern Theology|13612051|Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit The Idealistic Logic of Modern Theology|Gary J. Dorrien||19211034] I could follow most of what he was talking about.

Gadamer was a student of Heidegger and like all good students he takes some of Heidegger and tweaks it. He makes a statement in the book that the "thing-in-istelf as Husserl has shown is nothing but the continuity with which the various perceptual perspectives on objects shade into one another". This is actually the exact opposite from Heidegger. Gadamer likes Heidegger but he prefers Hegel. Matter of fact he makes the statement that the aim of philosophical hermeneutics is "to retrace the path of Hegel's phenomenology of mind until we discover in all that is subjective the substantiality that determines it".

I haven't really mentioned what the book is about. Partly, that's because I really loved his process (Method) before he got to his event (Truth). "All understanding is interpretation. Being that can be understood is language". He'll step the reader through with real examples. According to him, "Judgement is applying the particular under a universal, recognizing something as a result of a rule. It provides the bridge between understanding and reason". To get to the meaning of these kind of statements the author steps the reader through Aesthetics, Kant, Hegel, and Husserl's take on the world. He'll use the example of hermeneutics in the law and what it means to apply the law. That's when he had a footnote that basically said, "you might not know why I'm telling you this, but I'm setting you up for understanding how text (and the spoken word) really works".

At first I did not understand why he was talking about art, aesthetics, and playing and why playing both for children and then for actors was relevant(imitation and representation, and signs and symbols). But, it's at that point in the book I started to figure out that he had to establish the background before he could get to the 'foreground'. Foreground is a very important word for him, all language (all text, all hermeneutics including conversation) needs a context, a tradition and a culture (now you see why he doesn't like the Enlightenment).

I like the book a lot. He's a good writer (or is it good translator?). I really would recommend it for anyone. It's not impenetrable like Hegel, Kant and Heidegger can be. Each paragraph (or sentence) makes sense. Matter of fact that's actually what he's getting at in the book: it's not the pieces of the whole (e.g. words in sentences) we understand and it's not the whole we understand but the both before we can understand each.