welcome covers

Your complimentary articles

You’ve read all of your complimentary articles for this month. To have complete access to the thousands of philosophy articles on this site, please


If you are a subscriber please sign in to your account.

To buy or renew a subscription please visit the Shop.

If you are a print subscriber you can contact us to create an online account.

The Library of Living Philosophers

Hans-Georg Gadamer

by Kai Hammermeister

Hans-Georg Gadamer (b 1900) is best known for his path-breaking work in philosophical hermeneutics, most prominently advanced in his book Truth and Method of 1960. Traditionally, hermeneutics (from the Greek word hermeneuein, ‘to comprehend’) meant the correct interpretation and understanding of texts, usually those either of ancient authors or of the Bible. Gadamer, taking up clues from Martin Heidegger, turned understanding from a reading skill into a characteristic of human existence that demanded philosophical investigation. Hermeneutics as the theory of understanding was promoted to the status of a fundamental philosophical discipline.

Understanding for Gadamer means to regard oneself as embedded in a tradition and in a community.