Form and Content
Truth and Method is a formal and difficult philosophical treatise. Its German subtitle, translated as “foundations of a philosophical hermeneutics,” indicates its focus on the topic of hermeneutics, or the philosophical study of the science of interpretation and analysis. The book is organized into three major sections: a discussion of the issue of truth/validity in the context of aesthetics, an expansion of this theme into the domain of the humanities and social sciences in general, and an examination of hermeneutics in terms of language. A number of discussions of related topics are appended.
Hermeneutics—the term derived from the Greek demigod Hermes, the messenger of the gods and inventor of language and writing—involves the study and analysis of the methodologies and theoretical approaches by which one arrives at the truth content of a particular object of inquiry (an art object, a text, or a historical epoch, for example). Hermeneutics has a long history in the fields of biblical and religious studies (interpretive commentaries on biblical passages) and legal studies (interpretive commentaries on the law). It becomes particularly significant in the modern age with respect to methodological questions in the social sciences (historiography) and the fine arts (literature).
A brief overview of the history of hermeneutic studies will be helpful in understanding the tradition from which Hans-Georg Gadamer’s work emerges....
(The entire section is 520 words.)