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Forms of reflection

Anders Odenstedt

pp. 101-128

This chapter considers the rather frequent objection to Gadamer, made by Jürgen Habermas, among others, that a theory of the unreflective nature of context-dependence of the kind proposed by Gadamer reduces the very lack of reflection that it asserts. Gadamer argues that context-dependence and the presuppositions that it involves are to some extent, or perhaps even largely, unreflected. But this very argument seems to rely on a reflective stance. However, a distinction should be made between a general idea of context-dependence and reflective awareness of the specific forms of this dependence. This very idea does not require that all presuppositions are reflected. Gadamer is therefore less vulnerable to the criticism that his theory of unreflectiveness contains incompatible elements than Habermas supposes. But Gadamer sometimes argues that most contextual influences are unreflected. This argument does not rely on a general idea of context-dependence only, but requires a form of reflection that is both specific and comprehensive to succeed. When Gadamer argues in this way, Habermas' objection to him seems valid after all.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-59558-0_4

Full citation:

Odenstedt, A. (2017). Forms of reflection, in Gadamer on tradition - historical context and the limits of reflection, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 101-128.

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