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Hans-Georg Gadamer on Horizon - Dictionary of Arguments

I 307
Horizon/Gadamer: All finite presence has its limits. We define the concept of situation precisely by the fact that it represents a location that limits the possibilities of seeing. The concept of situation therefore essentially includes the concept of horizon. Horizon is the visual circle that encompasses and encloses all that is visible from one point. When applied to the thinking consciousness, we then speak of the narrowness of the horizon, the possible widening of the horizon, the opening up of new horizons, etc. In particular, since Nietzsche and Husserl(1), philosophical language has used the word to characterize the boundedness of thought to its finite definiteness and the step law of the expansion of the scope of vision. Someone who has no horizon is a person who does not see far enough and therefore overestimates what is obvious to him or her. >Horizon/Husserl, >History of Effect/Gadamer.
I 309
Are there (...) two horizons that are different from each other, the horizon in which the one who understands lives, and the respective historical horizon in which he or she puts himself? Is the art of the historical understanding correctly and sufficiently described by learning to put oneself in foreign horizons? Are there any closed horizons in this sense?
Solution/Gadamer: The horizon is rather something we wander into and that wanders with us. The horizons shift for the mobile. So the horizon of the past, from which all human life lives and which is there in the way of tradition, has always been in motion. It is not only the historical consciousness that sets the surrounding horizon in motion. In it this movement has only become aware of itself. When our historical consciousness moves into historical horizons, this does not mean a rapture into foreign worlds that nothing connects with our own, but rather that they together form the one great horizon that moves from within, which encompasses the historical depth of our self-consciousness beyond the boundaries of the present. In truth, therefore, it is a single horizon that encompasses all that is contained within the historical consciousness.
I 311
Understanding: There is as little a present horizon in itself as there is a historical horizon that you'd have to win. Rather, understanding is always the process of merging such supposedly separate horizons.

I 392
Horizont/Gadamer: Def Horizontverschmelzung: [Es] handelt (...) sich im Verstehen ganz gewiss nicht um ein „historisches Verständnis“ das die Entsprechung des Textes rekonstruierte. Vielmehr meint man den Text selbst zu verstehen. Das bedeutet aber, dass die eigenen Gedanken des Interpreten in die Wiedererweckung des Textsinnes immer schon mit eingegangen sind. Insofern ist der eigene Horizont des Interpreten bestimmend, aber auch er nicht wie ein eigener Standpunkt, den man festhält oder durchsetzt, sondern mehr wie eine Meinung und Möglichkeit, die man ins Spiel bringt und aufs Spiel setzt und die mit dazu hilft, sich wahrhaft anzueignen, was in dem Texte gesagt ist.


1. H. Kuhn has already pointed this out. Cf. „The Phenomenological Concept of „Horizon«“ (Philosophical Essays in Memory of Husserl, ed. M. Faber) Cambrigde 1940, p. 106—123.


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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 2021-09-18
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