Volume 14, Issue 2, Spring 2010
Lauren Swayne Barthold
Friendship and the Ethics of Understanding
In the following essay I explore the hermeneutical significance of Gadamer’s writings on the relational, and thus ethical, components of understanding. First, I look at his discussion in Truth and Method of the significance of the “I-Thou” relation for interpretation. I then turn to his 1985 essay on Aristotle’s notion of friendship, “Friendship and Self-Knowledge: Reflections on the Role of Friendship in Greek Ethics.” My interest is to think about the implications of these writings for his theory of hermeneutics in general. I conclude that both motifs indicate the importance of openness to the other that leads to a deeper realization of our solidarity with the other.