Recommend to your Librarian

Unfinished Worlds

Hermeneutics, Aesthetics and Gadamer

Nicholas Davey

Hardback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (PDF) i

Explores the far-reaching consequences of Gadamer’s hermeneutical critique of aesthetics

Hans-Georg Gadamer's poetics completely overturns the European aesthetic tradition. By concentrating on the experience of meaning, Unfinished Worlds shows how Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics transforms aesthetics into a mode of attentive practice. Gadamer's poetics has deep implications for all of the humanities, and how we can understand the meaning of poetry, art, literature, history and theology. His emphasis on participation promises an approach that will revolutionise aesthetic and hermeneutic practice, and gives us new ways to think about the cultural productivity and social legitimacy of the humanities.

Show more


Series Editor’s Preface
Preface: Images of Movement
1. Hermeneutics and Aesthetics
2. Gadamer’s Re-Orientation of Aesthetics
3. Aesthetic Attentiveness and the Question of Distanciation
4. Theoros and Spectorial Participation
5. Presentations, Appearance and Likeness
6. Art and the Art of Language
7. The Redemptive Image

About the Author

Nicholas Davey was educated at the Universities of York, Sussex and Tübingen and has lectured at the City University London, the University of Manchester, the University of Wales Institute Cardiff and is presently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dundee. His teaching and research interests lie in aesthetics and hermeneutics. He has published widely in the field of Continental Philosophy, aesthetics and hermeneutic theory. His last book, Unquiet Understanding, Gadamer and Philosophical Hermeneutics, (2006), was published with the State University Press of New York.


Long before it became fashionable to talk of relational aesthetics, Gadamer presented art as an encounter of the most fundamental kind. With Unfinished Worlds, Davey has not only given us the first monograph in English on Gadamer’s hermeneutical aesthetics, but also made a compelling case for the importance of Gadamer to our understanding of the structures that give rise to art and human experience.

- Clive Cazeaux, Cardiff Metropolitan University

Nicholas Davey did not write a book on Gadamer; he wrote about the question: how to look at art, how art changes our understanding of the world and ourselves. After Davey’s clear writing the reader will see how Gadamer changed our philosophy of art based on phenomenological hermeneutics.

- Ben Vedder, Radboud University Nijmegen

In this excellent work, Nicholas Davey gives a superlatively clear, sharp-edged, and analytically precise account of Gadamer's hermeneutic aesthetics, which makes clear both the capacity of Gadamer's thought to meet stringent philosophical demands and its distinctive appeal as an approach within aesthetics. A more engaging and persuasive account could not be asked for.

- Sebastian Gardner, University College London

Also in this series