In Unquiet Understanding, Nicholas Davey reappropriates the radical content of Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics to reveal that it offers a powerful critique of Nietzsche’s philosophy of language, nihilism, and post-structuralist deconstructions of meaning. By critically engaging with the practical and ethical implications of philosophical hermeneutics, Davey asserts that the importance of philosophical hermeneutics resides in a formidable double claim that strikes at the heart of both traditional philosophy and deconstruction. He shows that to seek control over the fluid nature of linguistic meaning with rigid conceptual regimes or to despair of such fluidity because it frustrates hope for stable meaning is to succumb to nihilism. Both are indicative of a failure to appreciate that understanding depends upon the vital instability of the “word.” This innovative book demonstrates that Gadamer’s thought merits a radical reappraisal and that it is more provocative than commonly supposed.
About the author
Nicholas Davey is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dundee, Scotland.
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