Volume 12, 2007
Philosophical Trends in the XXth Century
Gadamer's Theory of Time Consciousness
Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics belongs to the phenomenological tradition. What is striking then is that one of the central themes in phenomenology, the nature of time consciousness, receives no sustained treatment in Gadamer's writings. It's fair to say that Gadamer is the only major figure in phenomenology not to address the issue of time at length. In this paper I argue that Gadamer does have an account of time consciousness and it can be found most fully articulated in his account of the aesthetic experience connected to festivals. Festivals, as models of epochal experiences, are the primordial experiences of time upon which other forms of time consciousness (time as used and filled and scientific time) are constituted. Significantly, then, the reproduction of the meaning of tradition plays a role in the heart of Gadamer's theory of time and therefore his theory of experience.