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Inheriting Gadamer

New Directions in Philosophical Hermeneutics

Edited by Georgia Warnke

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12 new essays analyse and extend Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics, taking it in new directions and opening new dialogues

Hans-Georg Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics – one of the seminal philosophies of the 20th century – has had a profound influence on a wide array of fields, including classical philology, theology, the philosophy of the social sciences, literary theory, philosophy of law, critical social theory and the philosophy of art. This collection expands on some of these areas and takes his hermeneutics into yet new fields including narrative medicine, biotechnology, the politics of memory, the philosophy of place and the non-verbal language of the body. And, building on Gadamer’s well-known discussions with Heidegger, Habermas and Derrida, Inheriting Gadamer sets him in dialogue with Mahatma Gandhi, Christine Korsgaard, Charles Mills and others. In these ways, the volume holds fast to a Gadamerian virtue: cultivating our important philosophical traditions while embracing the constant need to re-think their meaning in new circumstances and in relation to new knowledge.


Georgia Warnke

Part I Critique and Causality

1. Critical Fusions: Towards A Genuine ‘Hermeneutics of Suspicion’
Lorenzo C. Simpson

2. What is Interpretive Explanation in Sociohistorical Analysis?
Isaac Ariail Reed

3. The Anarchy of Hermeneutics: Interpretation as a Vital Practice
Santiago Zabala

Part II Hermeneutics and Openness

4. Elements of Style: Openness and Dispositions
Whitney Mannies

5. Openness to Critical Reflection: Gandhi beyond Gadamer
Steven Paul Cauchon

6. Philosophical Hermeneutics and the Politics of Memory
Georgia Warnke

Part III Place, Play and the Body

7. Place and Hermeneutics: Towards a Topology of Understanding
Jeff Malpas

8. Verbal and Nonverbal Forms of Play: Words and Bodies in the Process of Understanding
Monica Vilhauer

Part IV Science, Medicine and Biotechnology

9. On the Integration of Scientific Knowledge into Self-Understanding
Peter Fristedt

10. A Dialogic Approach to Narrative Medicine
Leah McClimans

11. If Enhancement is the Answer, What is the Question?
Lauren Swayne Barthold



About the Author

Georgia Warnke is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Riverside. She is also Director of the Center for Ideas and Society. She is the author of Gadamer: Hermeneutics, Tradition and Reason (Polity, 1987), Justice and Interpretation (MIT Press, 1993), Legitimate Differences: Interpretation in the Abortion Controversy and Other Public Debates (University of California Press, 1999), After Identity: Rethinking Race, Sex and Gender (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and Debating Sex and Gender (Oxford University Press, 2010).


Georgia Warnke’s Inheriting Gadamer brings together the voices of well-recognized scholars of Gadamer’s hermeneutics and new, soon to be recognized more junior scholars to demonstrate just how relevant Gadamer’s hermeneutics is and will continue to be. These essays renew the 'conversation that we are' (Gadamer) by taking it in unexpected and surprisingly contemporary directions.

- Kathleen Wright, Haverford College

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