published on May 7, 2020
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Cynthia Nielsen, Ian Alexander Moore
Tasks of Philosophy in the Present Age
RIAS-Lecture, June 9, 1952
This is a translation of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s recently discovered 1952 Berlin speech. The speech includes several themes that reappear in Truth and Method, as well as in Gadamer’s later writings such as Reason in the Age of Science. For example, Gadamer criticizes positivism, modern philosophy’s orientation toward positivism, and Enlightenment narratives of progress, while presenting his view of philosophy’s tasks in an age of crisis. In addition, he discusses structural power, instrumental reason, the objectification of nature and human beings, the reduction of both to mere means, and the colonization of scientific-technological ways of knowing and being—all of which continue to impact our social and political lives together and threaten the very existence of every living being. This speech is essential reading for Gadamer scholars interested in the social, political, and ethical dimensions of his thought and for those interested in bringing Gadamer into conversation with critical theory.