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Gadamer A Guide for the Perplexed by Chris Lawn

Gadamer A Guide for the Perplexed

Part of the Guides for the Perplexed Series


Gadamer A Guide for the Perplexed by Chris Lawn

Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to fathom, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough and confident understanding of demanding material. Hans-Georg Gadamer is one of the formeost European philosophers of recent times. His work on philosophical hermeneutics defined the whole subject, and Truth and Method, his magnum opus, is a landmark text in modern philosophy. However, Gadamer's ideas, the complex relationship between them, and the often opaque way they are expressed, undoubtedly pose a considerable challenge for the reader. Gadamer: A Guide for the Perplexed is the ideal text for anyone trying to get to grips with Gadamer's work. Providing a clear account of the central tenets of Gadamer's philosophy, the book does not shy away from the more complex material and provides an invaluably thorough and fully engaged account of Gadamer's hermeneutics. There is clear exposition and analysis of such key terms - often problematic for the reader - as 'fusion of horizons', 'effective historical consciousness' and 'the logic of question and answer', as well as Gadamer's redefinition of such concepts as 'prejudice', 'authority' and 'tradition'. The book also discusses Gadamer's influence in other areas of philosophy; the response of other philosophers to his work; and criticisms of his work on the grounds of relativism.


Chris Lawn, Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Limerick, has written the best introduction to the work and life of Hans-Georg Gadamer so far. It admirably fulfils the task of Continuum's series, Guides for the Perplexed, of offering 'clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging - or, indeed, downright bewildering', but it is much more than that...It is amazing that Lawn, who apparently never met Gadamer, has such as acute understanding of the man and his thought - something that Gadamer himself, who really disliked the biographical approach, would have very much appreciated. In fact, one of the qualities of the book is that it is truly hermeneutical and indeed Gadamerian, oriented, as such a book should be, towards understanding. Perhaps Lawn's combination of sympathy and distance was ideal for this task. The book is very well written and pedagogically masterful; the dutkus is dramatic and interest-stimulating, and the style is elegant, non-verbose and pleasant to read. Throughout, Lawn avoids oversimplifications. -Wolfgang Drechsler, Philosophy in Review--Sanford Lakoff

About the Author

Chris Lawn is Lecturer in Philosophy at Limerick University. He is the author of Wittgenstein and Gadamer (2004), also published by Continuum.

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Book Info

Publication date

24th May 2006


Chris Lawn

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Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


176 pages


Western philosophy, from c 1900 -



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