Gadamer's Ethics of Play

Gadamer's Ethics of Play : Hermeneutics and the Other

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Gadamer's Ethics of Play: Hermeneutics and the Other examines the ethical dimensions of understanding by focusing on Gadamer's concept of "play" as it is developed in his magnum opus Truth and Method. Monica Vilhauer argues for the global relevance of play in Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics by revealing play as the key concept that depicts the process of all understanding-that is, the dynamic, dialogical, and interpretive process by which interlocutors come to grasp a common subject matter together. Through the lens of dialogue-play, the book focuses on openness toward one's dialogue partner, respect for his differing point of view, and a willingness to learn from him in conversation as crucial ethical conditions of genuine understanding. The book aims to revive the ethical heart of philosophical hermeneutics and reveal the transforming power of the Other in Gadamer's hermeneutics. While Gadamer's Ethics of Play develops his philosophical hermeneutics as an ethical philosophy, in the style of the older tradition of Aristotelian practical philosophy, it is finally critical of the extent to which Gadamer's hermeneutics can be used as a guide to practice. The book points out our need for guidance when we face our most prevalent obstacle to understanding-a closedness to the Other, or unwillingness to engage in conversation-but finds no guidance from Gadamer in scenarios where ethical conditions are lacking. Inspired by Gadamer's discussion of play, the book searches for types of human interaction that might have the power to open or re-open the play of dialogue between those who have become closed to each other, so that true understanding between them can be developed. The book is accessible to an undergraduate audience, while also being relevant to ongoing debates among Gadamer scholars.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 166 pages
  • 156 x 232 x 20mm | 439.98g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0739139142
  • 9780739139141
  • 1,467,163

Review quote

In this engaging and lucid journey to the heart of Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics, Vilhauer probes the concept of play and elucidates its rich ethical significance. She forcefully answers critics who claim that hermeneutics does not do justice to alterity, and she offers a fresh interpretation of the 'fusion of horizons.' She pursues the limits of hermeneutics and shows how we can break through the barriers of those who refuse to open themselves to genuine dialogue. This is at once an excellent introduction to hermeneutics and a strong defense of Gadamer. -- Richard J. Bernstein, New School for Social Research Interpreters of Gadamer's account of play have typically considered it only a part of his view of aesthetic understanding. Vilhauer shows us the central role it possesses in his hermeneutics as a whole. In doing so, she puts paid to criticisms that accuse Gadamer of being insufficiently attentive to the otherness of the Other and she delineates a new ethics of openness. This is a lovely book. -- Georgia Warnke, University of California, Riversideshow more

About Monica Vilhauer

Monica Vilhauer is assistant professor of philosophy at Roanoke College.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: An Invitation to "Play" Part 2 Part I. Gadamer's Hermeneutic Problem Chapter 3 Chapter 1. Facing the Inadequate Model of Modern Science Part 4 Part II. Gadamer's Concept of Play: Re-Conceiving the Process of Understanding Chapter 5 Chapter 2. Introducing the Key of Play Chapter 6 Chapter 3. Understanding Art: The Play of Work and Spectator Chapter 7 Chapter 4. Understanding Tradition: Full Shift to Understanding in the Human Sciences Part 8 Part III. The Ethical Dimensions of Play Chapter 9 Chapter 5. The Ethical Conditions of Dialogic Play: Between I and Thou Chapter 10 Chapter 6. Genuine Play in Action: The Model of the Philosopher Chapter 11 Chapter 7. The Value of Play: Transition to Play as a Guide to Life Chapter 12 Chapter 8. Play and Practical Philosophy: Play as a Guide to Life Part 13 Part IV. When Ethical Conditions are Lacking Chapter 14 Chapter 9. The Problem of Closedness Chapter 15 Chapter 10. Cultivating an Opening to Dialogueshow more

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