Hans-Georg Gadamer on Education, Poetry, and History: Applied Hermeneutics

By Dieter Misgeld; Graeme Nicholson et al. | Go to book overview

TRANSLATORS' APPROACH

This translation has been guided by the intention of preserving Gadamer's unique philosophical style which is more cautious and caring than assertive and argumentative. He often allows the subject matter to speak in the passive voice and not the subject in the active voice. In as far as possible we have reflected in English Gadamer's choice of words so that what is said may to some extent echo what is not said. Therefore, we often have translated in the direction of being more literal and somewhat less flowing rather than attempting to rewrite what is said in another, more readable form. We attempted thereby to preserve the possibilities of interpretation. We also chose to preserve the original paragraphs. This should facilitate a careful investigation of Gadamer's thought within these essays.

Some particulars may be noted to exemplify our purpose. Wissenschaft has been translated as 'science' although the German meaning includes any organized body of knowledge and not just one dependent upon the method of the empirical sciences: in this sense the humanities are also sciences. One should note Gadamer's discussion of the Geisteswissenschaften, that is the moral sciences or humanities, in the beginning of the essay, "The Future of the European Humanities" (Chapter 16). Where Naturwissenschaft has been used we have translated this as 'natural science.' Toward the end of "Citizens of Two Worlds" (Chapter 17) Gadamer uses the expression die Wissenschaft yore Menschen which we have translated literally as 'the science of humans' in order to indicate that Gadamer has not used the word Geisteswissenschaft which is usually translated as "the human sciences" or "the humanities." Although somewhat unusual in English we have felt it important to make this distinction in the translation, because the interpretation of this phrase would leave open, as it does in German, whether just a few or actually all forms of study of human beings were intended.

In "The Idea of the University" (Chapter 5) Gadamer discusses the relationship of the university to the society in which it exists and identifies the fundamental problem to be the special sense in which the university must remain separate from, while also involved in, the social-political context. To express this situation he uses the word Abseits which may mean standing alongside something, being at the fringes, or being apart from something. It can mean to stand aside allowing another to pass or it

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