chapter  12
21 Pages

Gadamer’s Metaphorical Hermeneutics

WithJoel Weinsheimer

Hans-Georg Gadamer too insists on the dynamism and fecundity which for Ricoeur define the essential character of metaphor. Thus for Gadamer as for Ricoeur, metaphorical expression is prior to and the occasion for conceptual development. Metaphor runs ahead of conceptual language because it need not wait for the work of abstraction, the determination of a shared identity, before being able to communicate the similarity of two different things. Yet the fact that concept formation relies on the fecundity and plurality of metaphor leads Gadamer, unlike Ricoeur, to the conclusion that there can be no dialectic between metaphorical and conceptual language because language is fundamentally metaphorical. In this respect at least, Gadamer discerns the same universal metaphoricity of philosophical discourse that Derrida later elaborates in "White Mythology". Gadamer's analysis of the as-structure of perceptual understanding suggests that the hermeneutic circle of alienation and reunion operates at the heart of perception.