Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 52, 2018

Philosophy of History

Paul Healy
Pages 25-30

Philosophical Hermeneutics: Hermeneutic Truth as Dialogical Disclosure

Notwithstanding its prominence in the title of Gadamer’s major work, the concept of truth remains implicit and underspecified in Gadamer’s writings (e.g., Bernstein 1983, 151-52). Consequently, it is often assumed that, for Gadamer, as for Heidegger, the emergence of truth is adequately characterised as a sudden flash of enlightening insight, an impression reinforced by the prominence accorded by Gadamer in the first part of Truth and Method to the experience of aesthetic truth and the model of play (Spiel). But in addition to leaving the hermeneutic truth concept open to charges of arbitrariness and subjectivism, this assessment overlooks Gadamer’s emphasis in the second part of TM on the need for investigating a topic dialogically. Accordingly, this paper contends that it is only when these two elements are counterbalanced, as Gadamer intends, that a defensible conception of hermeneutic truth emerges, impervious to charges of arbitrariness and subjectivism. Notably too, this hermeneutic truth concept transcends both coherence and correspondence truth in important respects.