The Art of Allusion
Hans-Georg Gadamer's Philosophical Interventions
under National Socialism
TERESA OROZCO translated by Jason Gaiger
On February 11, 1995, Gadamer reached the age of ninety-five. The tributes that were paid to him were justifiably numerous; in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung he was celebrated as “the most successful philosopher of the Federal Republic, ” placed even before Jürgen Habermas, to whom the title of philosopher was awarded only with certain reservations. 1 The worldwide influence of Gadamer's thinking is closely connected with the reception of his principal work, Truth and Method (1960). In 1979, Habermas characterized Gadamer's achievement as the “urbanization of the Heideggerian province. ” The bridges that Gadamer has built consist above all in an elaboration of Heidegger's paradigm of understanding in its application to hermeneutics; these bridges connect philosophy with all those realms in which interpretative procedures are necessary, such as literary studies, jurisprudence, theology, and even medicine (see VG).
What is striking in the present reception of Gadamer's work is the concentration on what Henning Ritter has described as “conciliatory thinking which knows how to conceal his hardness. ” 2 The notion of conciliation is generally explicated through reference to the third section of Truth and Method. In what he terms the “ontological turn of hermeneutics oriented by the guiding thread of language, ” Gadamer develops a conception of language that comes close to the dictum of the later Heidegger: that, properly understood, it is not the individual subject but language itself that speaks 3— with the difference, however, that Gadamer introduces the model of dialogue as a sort of counterbalance. In short, Gadamer's basic assumption is that truth is disclosed in dialogical speech. Decisive here is Gadamer's rein-