Gadamer and Scholz on Solidarity: Disclosing, Avowing, and Performing Solidaristic Ties with Human and Natural Others

Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 48 (3):240-256 (2017)
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This essay is concerned with Gadamer’s reflections on solidarity and practice as found in several of his later writings. While Gadamer offers a robust explanation of practice, practical reason, and how both are operative in solidarities, his investigations of solidarity are in no way systematic. He does, however, distinguish two aspects of solidarity, viz. what one might call “natural solidarity” and “avowed solidarity”. In contrast to natural solidarities, avowed solidarities require an intentional decision and commitment to act with others for a common cause. Since Gadamer’s writings on solidarity are more sketches than detailed treatises, we will bring his work into dialogue with feminist and political philosopher Sally Scholz. Scholz has devoted significant research to the concept of political solidarity. Like Gadamer, Scholz too is concerned with how we engage natural others and how our present practices harm and exploit them. By bringing Scholz’s and Gadamer’s work into dialogue, we gain a better understanding of different facets and types of solidarity, how they interrelate and influence one other, and how their interrelations might help to effect positive social and political changes for all who inhabit this world.

Author's Profile

Cynthia R. Nielsen
University of Dallas


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