Relativism in Gadamer's Philosophical Hermeneutics

Document Type : Research Paper


Assistant Professor, Research Institute for Islamic Culture and Thought, Qom, Iran


One of the main claims of Gadamer’s hermeneutic philosophy is that it is not relativistic. But it seems that this hermeneutics is afflicted by relativism in three respects. The first is the truth and reality where this hermeneutics suffers from relativism associated with reality due to Gadamer's phenomenological definition of the truth. The second and third areas are related to meaning and understanding, where his hermeneutic philosophy suffers from semantic and conceptual relativism, respectively. Gadamer has tried to use a universal basis formed through interrelating tradition and language to get rid of relativism and thereby consolidate the basis of absolutism in his own hermeneutics. But the conditions he has envisaged for language and tradition as changing phenomena and their effect on the idiosyncratic horizons of every interpreter have practically rendered null his efforts to provide a basis for the absolutization of his hermeneutics.


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