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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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5. The Possibility of Global Disasters and the Fear for the Self-destruction of Mankind 75

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75 5. The Possibility of Global Disasters and the Fear for the Self-destruction of Mankind It is a well known fact that the twentieth century has been, among other things, a century anguished and “obsessed” by the terrible shock of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Indeed, these events pushed the “planetary iron age” into the phase of the “Damoclean threat”1. From then on, we are all drawn into the common adventure of a planetary era, all threatened by nuclear death. En 1945, la bombe d’Hiroshima a fait entrer l’âge de fer planétaire dans une phase damocléenne. […] La potentialité d’auto-anéantissement accompagne désormais la marche de l’humanité. […] La bombe d’Hiroshima a ouvert en 1945 une phase nouvelle, où l’arme nucléaire est suspedue en permanence audessus de l’humanité entière. Cette situation damocléenne s’est installée avec les énormes arsenaux capables de détruire plusieurs fois le genre humain, les missiles porteurs de mégamorts tapis par milliers dans les silos, sillonnant les océans dans les sous-marins nucléaires, volant sans discontinuer dans les superbombardiers. L’arme se répand, se miniaturise et sera bientôt à la disposition de potentats et/ou de terroristes déments2. An outstanding sociologist of our time, Ulrich Beck, has recently contextualized the Hiroshima and Nagasaki trauma within a specific type of “dialectics of modernization”, namely the so-called “dialectics of anti-modernity”3. As he expresses it: Hiroshima: […] Dieses Ereignis, hervorgegangen aus den Erfolgen der Natur- wissenschaften, in diesem Fall...

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