From Deconstruction to Rehabilitation: Heidegger, Gadamer, and Modernity


Speaker: David Liakos, University of New Mexico

When: May 08, 2019 - 01:00pm - 03:00pm

Where: Department of Philosophy Library, HUM 519



This dissertation is a study of the problem of modernity, which I formulate in terms of this multivalent question: How should we understand the character, scope, and ultimately the limitations of our historical age? From the point of view of the two thinkers who provide us with our point of orientation, namely, Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) and Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002), the modern age, which traces the germs of its origin to the Italian Renaissance and coalesces into a coherent historical epoch by the Scientific Revolution in the seventeenth century, is marked above all by its faith in scientific and objectifying rationality. In this dissertation, I aim, first, to clarify how Heidegger and Gadamer think about modernity, thereby shedding hermeneutical light on their widely misunderstood intellectual relationship through the lens of this controversial philosophical problem. Then, I shall uncover and defend a distinctively Gadamerian response to modernity as an independent and viable argument worthy of attention, and as potentially more coherent and hopeful than Heidegger’s better-known answer to the problem of the modern age. Hence, in addition to being a study of the problem of modernity, this dissertation functions also as an exegetical engagement with the thinking of Heidegger and Gadamer, clarifying how Gadamer’s thought stands in relation to that of his teacher, and ultimately demonstrating how, precisely, Gadamer advanced beyond Heidegger’s thinking.