Gadamer's Repercussions: Reconsidering Philosophical Hermeneutics

By Bruce Krajewski | Go to book overview

Chapter 12
On the Politics of
Gadamerian Hermeneutics

A Response to Orozco and Waite
CATHERINE H. ZUCKERT

OROZCO

In “The Art of Allusion: Hans-Georg Gadamer's Philosophical Interventions under National Socialism, ” Teresa Orozco accuses Gadamer of having written “Plato and the Poets” to justify Nazi suppression of liberal humanist education and “Plato's Educational State” to support national conservative efforts to reform the regime. Geoffrey Waite repeats her accusation in “Radio Nietzsche. ” Whereas most twentieth-century readers of Nietzsche have unintentionally fostered his elitist politics by adopting a perspectivist reading, Waite charges, Orozco shows that Gadamer did so intentionally. In my view, there is little evidence to support either charge.

Gadamer never joined the National Socialist Party. “For this reason, ” Orozco admits, “he was elected rector of the University of Leipzig by the occupying Soviet powers in 1947. ” Although, as Gadamer has stated publicly, “there was no question of his joining one of the organizations of the National Socialist Party because of the importance of remaining loyal to his Jewish friends, ” she argues he nevertheless was “obliged to make political concessions in order to advance his career. ” 1 Orozco does not (and presumably cannot) cite any statement, vote, or action by which Gadamer explicitly supported National Socialism. Her argument depends completely upon associations she draws between the historical circumstances and things Gadamer said about Plato. “Gadamer's articles were entirely in keeping with then current research and did not appear to represent anything unusual, ” she concedes. The goals of Gadamer, in implicit contrast to those of his teacher, Martin Heidegger, “did not extend to such ambitious projects as the question of the meaning of being or revolutionizing the discipline of philosophy. ” Only by looking at the articles he wrote on Plato explicitly in the context of German politics under the Nazis did she discover the nefarious character of his apparently innocent scholarship.

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Gadamer's Repercussions: Reconsidering Philosophical Hermeneutics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xi
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction - The Task of Hermeneutics as Philosophy 1
  • Notes *
  • Part One - Gadamer's Influence 13
  • Chapter 1 - On Hans-Georg Gadamer's 100th Birthday 15
  • Chapter 2 - Being That Can Be Understood is Language 21
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 3 - An Essay on Gadamer and Levinas 30
  • Notes 50
  • Chapter 4 - Gadamer and Romanticism 55
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 5 - Literature, Law, and Morality 82
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 6 - A Critique of Gadamer's Aesthetics 103
  • Notes *
  • Part Two - Gadamer and Dialogue 121
  • Chapter 7 - To Its Cultured Despisers 123
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 8 - Gadamer's Philosophy of Dialogue and Its Relation to the Postmodernism of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, and Strauss 145
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 9 - Meaningless Hermeneutics? 158
  • Notes *
  • Part Three - Gadamer in Question 167
  • Chapter 10 - Radio Nietzsche, Or, How to Fall Short of Philosophy 169
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 11 - Hans-Georg Gadamer's Philosophical Interventions Under National Socialism 212
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 12 - A Response to Orozco and Waite 229
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 13 - A Response to Zuckert 244
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 14 - A Response to Zuckert 256
  • Notes *
  • Contributors 307
  • Index 311
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