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Gadamer and the Limits of the Modern Techno-Scientific Civilization

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Stefano Marino

This book is an attempt to provide a systematic interpretation of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutics in light of one of the most important, interesting and debated questions of the present age: the question concerning the role played by science and technology in shaping our civilization. The author argues that this question lies at the heart of Gadamer’s thought, and that such an approach to his philosophy might help to overcome some inveterate interpretive prejudices, like, for example, the idea of Gadamer as an anti-scientific and politically authoritarian thinker. In order to clarify these points, the author closely examines not only Gadamer’s 1960 masterpiece, Wahrheit und Methode, or his main writings (later gathered in ten volumes of collected papers), but most of the works he published in his more than centenarian life, including many short essays, lectures and interviews. Gadamer’s hermeneutics is seen as offering both an intriguing description of the main «pathologies» of the Western modern civilization, and a challenging proposal for «healing» the uneasiness and malaise of modernity by revaluating all forms of unmethodical, i.e. non-scientific, experience and knowledge.

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Acknowledgements .............................................................................. 9 1. Gadamer’s Long Twentieth Century .......................................... 11 2. Science and Technology: The Real Roots of Modernity ............ 23 3. The Basic Features of Our Societies: Conformism, Bureaucracy and Self-Alienation ............................................... 51 4. Cosmopolitan Hermeneutics in the Age of the “Clash of Civilizations” .............................................................. 65 5. The Possibility of Global Disasters and the Fear for the Self-destruction of Mankind ........................................... 75 6. On the Problematic Character of Ethic and Aesthetic Experiences in the Age of Science ............................................. 91 7. Religious Experience in a Nihilistic Epoch .............................. 113 8. Hermeneutics, Techno-Science, Enlightenment: A Complex “Constellation” ...................................................... 139 8 9. The Rehabilitation and Universalization of Practical Knowledge and Experience ....................................... 177 10. Reasonableness, Dialogue and Freedom: Ethical-Political Consequences of Hermeneutics ..................... 217 Bibliography ..................................................................................... 255 Index ................................................................................................. 289

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