Another Beginning? Heidegger, Gadamer, and Postmodernity

Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (1):221-238 (2019)
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Abstract

Martin Heidegger’s critique of modernity, and his vision of what may come after it, constitutes a sustained argument across the arc of his career. Does Hans-Georg Gadamer follow Heidegger’s path of making possible “another beginning” after the modern age? In this article, I show that, in contrast to Heidegger, Gadamer cultivates modernity’s hidden resources. We can gain insight into Gadamer’s difference from Heidegger on this fundamental point with reference to his ambivalence toward and departure from two of Heidegger’s touchstones for postmodernity, namely, Friedrich Nietzsche and Friedrich Hölderlin. We can appreciate and motivate Gadamer’s proposal to rehabilitate modernity by juxtaposing his rootedness in Wilhelm Dilthey and Rainer Maria Rilke with Heidegger’s corresponding interest in Nietzsche and Hölderlin. This difference in influences and conceptual starting points demonstrates Heidegger and Gadamer’s competing approaches to the modern age, a contrast that I concretize through a close reading of Gadamer’s choice of a poem by Rilke as the epigraph to Truth and Method

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David Liakos
Houston Community College System

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