Gadamer's Repercussions: Reconsidering Philosophical Hermeneutics

By Bruce Krajewski | Go to book overview
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Chapter 14
A Response to Zuckert

There's the old panegyric, the festive convention where the one to be lauded finally gets his public praise…. Being born was being born into the praxis of politics.

GADAMER, “Praise of Theory”

Ave, imperator, morituri te salutant!

Cited in Suetonius, De vita Caesarum

Debaxo de mi manto, al rey mato.

CERVANTES, Don Quixote

Si campu t'allampu. Si moru ti pirdugnu.

Sicilian saying


With her promotion of “mediation, “dialogue, and “moderation, Catherine H. Zuckert is to be saluted for her triumphant response to the essays of Orozco and Waite, a response that could be used as a textbook case for careful study, not necessarily for its specific object of analysis (needless to say), but for its overall and well-nigh seamless hermeneutic approach and rhetorical technique. Any momentary appearance to the contrary, this concession is ultimately not meant ironically. Certainly Zuckert's response has the virtue of exemplifying the temper of our times. This is to say that it not only could be read with profit by anyone interested in grasping the hegemonic theory (theoría) of the “discursive practice” 1 of the “postmodern, “postindustrial, “postcommunist” present, and likely some years ahead (as de Gaulle used to say, “the future lasts a long time”), but it also could be emulated in practical wisdom and (nota bene) prudence (phrónēsis) by anyone in the reserve labor army seeking gainful employment or institutional mobility in today's academy, whether in the social or human sciences—even, or especially, in its currently depressed job market. (As a parenthetical aside, we might note that the attempt to produce “discursive practices” that are an alternative to business as usual could be expected to have a rather different significance for, say, a tenured professor at a financially solvent academic


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