Gadamer's Concept of Language

In Theodore George & Gert-Jan Van der Heiden (eds.), The Gadamerian Mind. New York: Routledge. pp. 127-138 (2021)
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This chapter presents Gadamer’s conception of language and of its role in the process of understanding. The chapter begins by explaining what Gadamer means when he says that language is characterized by an essential “self-forgetfulness” [Selbstvergessenheit] and how this relates to his account of the fore-structure of the understanding. Next, it explains what it means to conceive of a linguistic presentation (e.g., a poem or a lecture) as a hermeneutic event and how this conceptualization is essential to Gadamer’s account of understanding and of the dialectical unity between language and being. The chapter ends by considering how Gadamer’s analysis of conversation further clarifies what it means to be open to the event of language.

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Carolyn Culbertson
Florida Gulf Coast University


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