Gadamer and Derrida as interpreters of Heidegger
on four texts of Gadamer and four texts of Derrida
It is well known that Hans-Georg Gadamer and Jacques Derrida are associated with "hermeneutics" and "deconstruction," respectively. Both of these terms they drew from Heidegger, so one could assume that for all their differences there are similarities between them also. That may have been what prompted Professor Gadamer to seek in the late seventies a friendly Auseinandersetzung with Derrida— which eventually took place April 25-27, 1981, at the Goethe Institute in Paris.1 Indeed, Manfred Frank, who was instrumental in arranging the 1981 symposium put forward in his paper at the same conference four areas of common ground between "Neostrukturalismus" and hermeneutics: First both are "after Hegel, after Heidegger, after Nietzsche," and thus neither of them finds in absolute consciousness any escape from history and human finitude. Second, in neither of them is a transcendental value evoked to justify life; rather values emerge from an "infinitely perspectival interpretation." Third, neither of them finds the epistemological subject to be the lord of his own being; rather "self-understanding," as Gadamer calls it, comes about in a semiotic context of a world "into whose structure a certain interpretation of the meaning of being has already entered. Finally, both neostructuralism and hermeneutics are both philosophies of language in which language guides the onward march of "consciousness'."2
Palmer, R. (1994)., Gadamer and Derrida as interpreters of Heidegger: on four texts of Gadamer and four texts of Derrida, in T. J. Stapleton (ed.), The question of hermeneutics, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 255-305.
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