The Protection of
the Philosophical Form
A Response to Zuckert
TERESA OROZCO, translated by Paul Malone
Although I do not share all the premises of the Gadamerian conception of dialogue, I am convinced that an examination of some of Catherine H. Zuckert's objections to my article can contribute to a better understanding of Gadamer's philosophical interventions under National Socialism. Her commentary gives me the opportunity to clarify some misunderstandings. 1 It is both striking and paradoxical that in Zuckert's polemic, the hermeneutic postulate of openness to the opinions of others and the paradigm of understanding summon up less tolerance and moderation whenever a critical examination of the stock of tradition leads to undesirable results. It should be borne in mind that between truth and method there are various branches of inquiry—and even other theories of interpretation—which, by means of methodical reflection, have rightfully won their place on the field of philosophy and science. These theories grant no validity to the logic: that cannot be, which may not be. 2 It might seem plausible that Gadamerian hermeneutics can be applied to their own prehistory with only partial success. The dogmatic authority of tradition and the uncontested continuance of authority exclude any question of their legitimacy. Since the intersection of intellectual traditions with domination and power is fundamental to the act of transmission, we are well advised not to give up critical reflection.
In this short article I refer to my book Platonische Gewalt, in which my thesis is supported by considerable evidence and a sentence-by-sentence interpretation. Much of what I formulate here in outline is considered there in its complexity. Since I have concentrated on Gadamer's interpretation of Plato, and have only peripherally treated the details and information that contradict Gadamer's depiction of these years in his autobiographical writings, 3 one should recall the following: in November 1933 Gadamer signed the Bekenntnis der Professoren an den deutschen Universitäten und Hochschulen zu