the contextual life

thoughts without borders

truth and method

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there are a few good philosophy series out there that i trust. one of them is from Continuum Books called Continuum Impacts, described on their site as:

… seminal works by the finest minds in contemporary thought, including Adorno, Badiou, Derrida, Heidegger and Deleuze. They are works of such power that they changed the philosophical and cultural landscape when they were first published and continue to resonate today. They represent landmark texts in the fields of philosophy, popular culture, politics and theology.

i’ve been known to buy one or two strictly because of their design, later finding that i can barely understanding what’s written inside. the font they use is big and bubbly :: inviting:: yet bold and confident. they say, ‘i’m fun and cuddly’ when in fact they are some of the hardest texts out there – which is not to say that they arent fun, just not in the way their choice of presentation would lead you to believe.  

right now i’m reading Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Truth and Method (written in the 1960s), which is described as:

… Gadamer’s magnum opus. Looking behind the self-consciousness of science, he discusses the tense relationship between truth and methodology. In examining the different experiences of truth, he aims to “present the hermeneutic phenomenon in its fullest extent.

Gadamer would not be expected to be well-known to amatuer philosophy buffs outside of germany -and maybe france. as an american, you have to dig a little deeper for him – but not too much. i think i saw his name mentioned by people who i’ve read but i couldnt tell you the specifics – maybe zizek, it would make sense.

at the point where i had read two prefaces and 20 pages of the first chapter, i grasped that his focus was going to be somewhere in the realm of ontology, which is basically the study of being as being and what i have taken to be the study of what we know and how we know it. Gadamer uses the term hermeneutics, which sounds a lot like ontology to me but because he uses a different term, i assume he would shake his head and think me unworthy of his book. for the record, hermeneutics is defined as the study of our methods of interpretation.

anyways, Gadamer is a name-dropper. he uses aristotle, kant, hume, and hegel – to name the bigger names –  to discuss aethetics, which now 180 pages in, i can tell you has a lot to do with the study of art in all of its forms. my  handy dictionary of philosophy defines it as what is immediately pleasing to our perception – visually, auditorally, or to our imagination. it’s the theory of taste and criticism in the creative and performing arts.

so far, apart from the times when i wonder if i am wasting my life on such nit-picking, i am enjoying the exploration into how we view art, how we should view art, and what art is beyond how it appears.

Written by Gabrielle

January 2, 2010 at 9:53 am

Posted in books

Tagged with , , ,

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