Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Warnke, Georgia, Ed. Inheriting Gadamer: New Directions in Philosophical Hermeneutics

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Warnke, Georgia, Ed. Inheriting Gadamer: New Directions in Philosophical Hermeneutics

Article excerpt

WARNKE, Georgia, ed. Inheriting Gadamer: New Directions in Philosophical Hermeneutics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016. 242 pp. Paper, $120.00--This collection of essays takes its impetus from the later writings of Hans-Georg Gadamer. The editor notes that the essays extend themes Gadamer addresses throughout his long career--the importance of questions, the significance of play, verbal and nonverbal communication, and the roles of science and technology--to topics primarily addressed in contemporary discussions. Areas and interests treated are: critique, critical sociology, anarchic multiplicity, written style, nonviolence, standpoint theory, place, nonverbal language, neuroscience, medical narrative, and biomedical enhancement.

The essays are grouped under four main divisions: Part 1: Critique and Causality; Part 2: Hermeneutics and Openness; Part 3: Place, Play and the Body; and Part 4: Science, Medicine and Biotechnology.

Part 1: Critique and Causality. In the first essay, Lorenzo Simpson makes a proposal for alleviating some difficulties in the "hermeneutics of suspicion." Distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate prejudices, he proposes a critical perspective that is sensitive to cultural differences without falling into "indiscriminate relativism." The second essay by Isaac Arial Reed, writing on interpretative explanation in sociohistorical analysis, recasts Aristotle's four causes into what he calls "forcing" and "forming" causes, and with attention to the French Revolution, argues this reformulation provides for a better causal account of the event. In the final essay of this section, Santiago Zabala argues that since understanding is understanding differently, it is inherently connected with anarchy, that hermeneutics is a philosophy of praxis, and that the serious hermeneuticist must become militant.

Part 2: Hermeneutics and Openness. The three essays in this section treat various aspects of openness, a central theme in Gadamer's work. In the first essay, Whitney Mannies argues that openness to the other requires attention not only to content, but also to style and form, and to the concomitant emotional, social and reflective dispositions. In the second essay, Steven Cauchon holds that Gandhi, rather than Gadamer, is more helpful in developing openness in oneself and others. Specifically, he sees the willingness to suffer as a way of shocking others into a response. Georgia Warnke, editor of the volume, contributes the final essay in this section, arguing that recognizing the histories and cultures of people of color can open one to avoid what Charles Mills calls "white ignorance. …

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