chapter  8
17 Pages

Beyond Seriousness and Frivolity: A Gadamerian Response to Deconstruction

WithGary B. Madison

One of the major motivations of Hans-Georg Gadamer's hermeneutical project is to overcome or displace what he has called "l'ère de la théorie de la connaissance", the age of epistemology. His critique of classical hermeneutics in the person of Dilthey is directed primarily at the fact that it remains caught up in the modern epistemological, foundationalist project. Phenomenological hermeneutics is thus a thoroughly postmodern form of thought which understandably appeals to an anti-foundationalist like Richard Rorty. Deconstruction tends to issue in relativism, interpretive arbitrariness, because while it maintains that there is no meaning present in the text. In contrast to deconstruction, hermeneutics maintains that there is always the possibility of meaning, but, in contrast to logocentrism, it maintains that it is never possible to arrive at a final meaning: "the discovery of the true meaning of a text or a work of art is never finished; it is in fact an infinite process".