Truth and Method
As you can read in Wikipedia, Truth and Method by Gadamer is one of the most substantial contributions to philosophy of the 20th Century. There are so many important things to read, it is difficult to decide where to start, or even how, without a programme of study in philosophy, or some structured approach. There is no case made here for reading one text above another - that will depend on individual desires and circumstances. It is likely that the reader has at least some passing interest in Truth and Method. The project proposed here is not to replicate wikipedia though. If you have sufficient insight and tact to improve the wikipedia entry you may find this project somewhat trivial since the aim here is for the mutual aid of novice philosophers (who, nonetheless, would greatly appreciate gentle help betimes).
To help the novice, there are many abridged versions of the important works. However, the forewords to these often recommend the reader to engage with the original text. There is no substitute for that, and yet, other approaches to the text can be helpful in starting to lay foundational concepts in the mind (for example, there are many audiobooks and YouTube videos - a list is being constructed at the foot of this page). The amount and quality of these varies somewhat. It is less easy to find materials to assist with Truth and Method. Whether you like to annotate a book or keep it pristine, when it comes to scholarly reading some kind of note-taking is important to record questions and misunderstandings that arise or preserve stand-out quotes and possibly enlarge upon them a little. All this helps to make the text one's own. This could be done privately through software or a paper notebook or any combination. This project seeks to provide a convivial collaborative space for exploring Truth and Method.
Referencing and Quoting from Truth and Method
The text was published in German in 1960 but the Second, Revised version in English, translated by Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall, is considered authoritative. This version may be obtained from the current publisher and copyright holders for a modest price as an electronic book. For this project they have kindly agreed to the use of direct quotes of up to 300 words which should be plenty to get the sense of a passage to enable meaningful discussion and comment.
Unlike Heidegger's Being and Time, Truth and Method does not have paragraph numbering. Therefore this project will organise annotation pages using the book's own subdivisions and the latest reprint page numbers. The reprints are not very different in page numbering so it should be possible to locate a page whatever edition is being read. For example, the Author Index in Crossways' 1992 reprint is on page 589, and page 617 in the latest 2013 Bloomsbury Academic edition.
The sections and subdivisions differ slightly between editions. The 2013 Bloomsbury edition shows reduced detail and numbering in the table of contents and gives prominence to the five major subheadings. For ease of navigation, the 2013 Bloomsbury page numbers are appended to page titles of major sections in the list below although will not form part of the wiki page title because future editions may alter this numbering. The structure below follows the detailed Crossroad (1992) edition section numbering. Many pages have not been created yet but that could change with your help.
I.1 Transcending the Aesthetic Dimension Page 3-105
- I.1.1 The significance of the humanist tradition for the human sciences
- I.1.2 The subjectivisation of aesthetics through the Kantian critique
- I.1.2B The aesthetics of genius and the concept of experience (Erlebnis)
- I.1.3 Retrieving the question of artistic truth
- I.2.1 Play as the clue to ontological explanation
- I.2.2 Aesthetic and hermeneutic consequences
II.1 Historical Preparation Page 181-277
- II.1.1 The questionableness of romantic hermeneutics and its application to the study of history
- II.1.1A The change in hermeneutics from the Enlightenment to romanticism
- II.1.1B The connection between the historical school and romantic hermeneutics
- II.1.2 Dilthey's entanglement in the aporias of historicism
- II.1.3 Overcoming the epistemological problem through phenomenological research
II.2 Elements of a theory of hermeneutic experience Page 278-400
- II.2.1 The elevation of the historicity of understanding to the status of a hermeneutic principle
- II.2.1A The hermeneutic circle and the problem of prejudices
- II.2.1B Prejudices as conditions of understanding
- II.2.2 The recovery of the fundamental hermeneutic problem
- II.2.2A The hermeneutic problem of application
- II.2.2B The hermeneutic relevance of Aristotle
- II.2.2C The exemplary significance of legal hermeneutics
- II.2.3 Analysis of historically effected consciousness
- II.2.3A The limitations of reflective philosophy
- II.2.3B The concept of experience (Erfahrung) and the essence of the hermeneutic experience
- II.2.3C The hermeneutic priority of the question
III.1 Language as the medium of hermeneutic experience Page 401-514
- III.1A Language as determination of the hermeneutic object
- III.1B Language as determination of the hermeneutic act
- III.3A Language as experience of the world
- III.3B Language as medium and its speculative structure
- III.3C The universal aspect of hermeneutics
Notes to Editors
Thank you for your interest in this project which amounts to a collaborative attempt to interpret this dense and powerful text. Many sections have their own page to allow for summary comments upon that section, but page-level comments could be organised within the subsections as the work grows.
Ways in to Gadamerian Thought
Although the original text is a powerful learning tool, it may be helpful to review material about Truth and Method and the following list curates suitable resources:
- YouTube of Jon Nixon 'Gadamer: The Problem of Method' at Lancaster University
- YouTube 'Gadamer by Jessica Frazier' for Timeline Theological Videos