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Hans Georg Gadamer Biography
Hans Georg Gadamer (February 11, 1900 - March 13, 2002) was a German philosopher best known for his 1960 magnum opus, Truth and Method (Wahrheit und Methode), in which his central project was to uncover the nature of human understanding. Gadamer was critical of the pervasiveness of methodological thinking in the humanities, arguing instead for the employment of "philosophical hermeneutics" as the key to revealing truth in the human sciences (Geisteswissenschaften). He was influenced greatly by and Martin Heidegger (with whom he studied). Gadamer is also noted for his debates with fellow philosophers Jacques Derrida and Jürgen Habermas, whom he secured his first professorship in Heidelberg. Gadamer was born in Marburg, Germany, as the son of a famous professor of pharmaceutical chemistry and died in Heidelberg, Germany.

Nothing exists except through language.
I basically only read books that are over 2,000 years old.
In fact history does not belong to us; but we belong to it. Long before we understand ourselves through the process of self-examination, we understand ourselves in a self-evident way in the family, society and state in which we live. The focus of subjectivity is a distorting mirror. The self-awareness of the individual is only a flickering in the closed circuits of historical life. That is why the predjudices [pre-judgements (Vorurteil)] of the individual, far more than his judgements, constitute the historical reality of his being. (Gadamer 1989:276-7, tr.)
The more language is a living operation, the less we are aware of it. Thus it follows from the self-forgetfulness of language that its real being consists in what is said in it. What is said in it constitutes the common world in which we live and to which the whole great chain of tradition reaching us from the literature of foreign languages, living as well as dead. The real being of language is that into which we are taken up when we hear it -- what is said. (Gadamer 1976:65, tr.)
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Hans Georg Gadamer.