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This paper offers a critical appraisal of Gadamer’s dialogical philosophy of the self-other relationship within the context of interpretation and historical consciousness. According to Gadamer hermeneutics is a theory of interpretation or, rather, the art of interpretation. The task of philosophical hermeneutics is to narrate an ontology of human understanding with the ethical intent of restoring to interpretation a greater sense of “integrity.” The “hermeneutic universe” belongs to the individual worldviews whose structure and content are constructed on the basis of historical precedents. Gadamer situates these precedents in historicity and the tradition of culture, which are resources for their unique interpretations. Gadamer claims that interpretative understanding encounters the other in the dialogical “play” (Spiel) of an ever-unfinished event. The self and the other belong to the horizon of historical consciousness, and it is through this common horizon that the alterity of the other comes into expression.

In: Culture and Dialogue