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Hans-Georg Gadamer on Sensus communis - Dictionary of Arguments

I 28
Sensus communis/Humanities/Gadamer: There is something immediately obvious about basing philological-historical studies and the way the humanities work on this concept of sensus communis. For its object, the moral and historical existence of man, as it takes shape in his deeds and works, is itself decisively determined by the sensus communis. Thus, the conclusion on the generality and the evidence may not be sufficient for reasons of fact, because the circumstances are decisive. But this is only formulated negatively. It is a positive insight of its own that is conveyed by the public spirit. The way of historical knowledge does by no means exhaust itself in having to admit "faith in foreign testimony" (Tetens (1)) instead of "self-confident closing" ((>Helmholtz (2)). It is also by no means the case that such knowledge would only have a diminished truth value. >Historiography/D'Alembert.
I 32
Sensus communis in Germany: The concept of sensus communis was adopted, but by completely depoliticising it, the term lost its actual critical meaning. Sensus communis was now understood to be merely a theoretical capacity, the theoretical power of judgement ["Urteilskraft"], which came alongside moral awareness (conscience) and taste. Thus he was placed in a scholasticism of the basic forces, the criticism of which was then carried out by Herder (in the fourth "Kritischen Wäldchen"directed against Riedel), and through which Herder became the forerunner of historicism in the field of aesthetics as well.
Exception: Pietism. >Sensus communis/Pietism.


1. Tetens, Philosophische Versuche, 1777, Neudruck der Kant-Gesellschaft, S 515
2. H. Helmholtz, Vorträge und Reden, 4. Aufl. I. Bd., Über das Verhältnis der
Naturwissenschaften zur Gesamtheit der Wissenschaften, S. 167 ff.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gadamer I
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik 7. durchgesehene Auflage Tübingen 1960/2010

Gadamer II
H. G. Gadamer
The Relevance of the Beautiful, London 1986
German Edition:
Die Aktualität des Schönen: Kunst als Spiel, Symbol und Fest Stuttgart 1977


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-07-27
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