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Title: The contribution of Hans-Georg Gadamer to the development of a Christian philosophy
Author: Gray, William Nelson
ISNI:       0000 0001 3513 8200
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1981
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The aim of the thesis is in Part One to give a critical exposition of the foundations of Gadamer's philosophy, and in Part Two to show how that philosophy can contribute to a Christian philosophy. Part One outlines Gadamer's interpretation of Heidegger's analysis of the 'fore-structure" of Understanding and the former's development of that analysis with his own analysis of "effective-historical consciousness" and his positive understanding of prejudice. Gadamer understands Understanding as a mode of experience and resists any attempt by reflection to elevate experience into knowledge; he wants Hegel's "science of the experience of consciousness" without his Absolute Knowledge. He also wants knowledge and truth without the totality which would guarantee them, and believes that Heidegger's "ontologically positive" understanding of finitude allows this. We try to show the difficulties of such a position, and also of his attempt to guarantee truth with the "speculative structure" of language. Finally we question the grounding of his philosophy in the aesthetic experience testified to by the "other side" of the Platonic doctrine of Beauty. In Part Two we suggest that religious experience provides a more adequate grounding for a philosophy such as Gadamer's. We try to clarify the relation between Gadamer and theology, and suggest that this relation is more intimate than he admits. We then try to see whether the Christian understandings of Eschatology and of Providence can shed new light on the questions raised in Part One, and can hint at their resolution. Finally we sketch a Christian philosophy which attempts to overcome the weaknesses and ambiguities of Gadamer's philosophy by a more explicit and thorough-going appropriation of the Christian-Platonic tradition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy