The Hermeneutics of Tradition: Political Implications of a Philosophical Legacy
Keywords:Hans-Georg Gadamer, Gianni Vattimo, Luigi Pareyson, tradition, politics
The interrogation of the problematic character of established traditions has become an increasingly dominant feature of contemporary political and social discourse. Gadamer's discussion of tradition takes on an often-unacknowledged utility in light of these discussions by both observing the subtle ways in which tradition persists even in times of social change while also placing an emphasis on the volitional (hence, risky and contingent) character of engagements with tradition. Gadamer's approach allows for a fidelity to tradition that nonetheless allows for a critical, emancipatory engagement with it, a precursor to the more explicitly political projects of hermeneutic thinkers such as Luigi Pareyson and Gianni Vattimo. This hermeneutic lineage offers our modern age a chance to embrace a new and more authentic relationship with the traditions in which we always-already find ourselves situated by giving us the opportunity to make those traditions speak to the challenges of our tumultuous present.
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