Volume 14, Issue 2, Autumn 2009
Camille E. Atkinson
Is Gadamer’s Hermeneutics Inherently Conservative?
According to two critics, Georgia Warnke and John Caputo, Gadamer’s hermeneutics is inherently „conservative” insofar as he appeals to tradition as
a constituent in understanding. They insist that he simply preserves the ideals, norms and values of the Western metaphysical tradition without critically
examining them. I do not agree and will argue that views like this depend upon several false assumptions – for example, that Gadamer reifies the text as a „thingin-itself” (Sache selbst) and remains trapped in subjectivism. I will begin by examining some of the ways in which these charges might be warranted before
proceeding to defend him.