ERIC Number: ED345316
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
Problems Inherent in Applying Gadamer's Philosophical Hermeneutics to the Study of Conversation.
Williams, Karen J.
In contrast to overly cognitive and excessively reductive information models of communication, Hans Georg Gadamer provides a viable alternative for discussing conversation. There seems to be a competition in Gadamer's writings between conversation and text, so that his project of textual interpretation has an important impact on his treatment of conversation, perhaps to the point of subversion. How the substance of a text is understood is the domain of conversation, a secondary concern for Gadamer, and his concern for texts leads his discussion in some important ways. Although he acknowledges that tradition often occurs in conversational forms, Gadamer always prefers the written text. Gadamer's textual bias can be viewed at times as problematic and too radical, and his prejudice against psychological hermeneutics may unnecessarily eliminate other processes and types of interpretation. Thus, Gadamer's understanding of conversation as interpretive may be seriously constrained by these prejudices. Still, the philosophy of language presented by Gadamer is a welcome alternative, and it is not essential that a theorist embrace his view of text as a higher priority to accept that philosophy. In fact, development of Gadamer's views might best be undertaken by communications scholars, particularly by those interested in the discursive accomplishment of all forms of understanding. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Conversation Theory; Gadamer (Hans Georg)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western States Communication Association (63rd, Boise, ID, February 21-25, 1992).