Monday, May 4, 2009

Golly Gadamer!

In this section, Gadamer talks about conversation, about what it means to be able to have a conservation. He writes that a conversation can't be structured, can't be intentional. It's something that comes about at a time when it is unexpected. Conversation leads those who converse. His description reminded me of Heidegger's "Dialogue with a Japanese," in that both parties have to be open and receptive to hearing what the other has to say, in order to move forward and understand each other and the object of discourse together.

Gadamer also writes that translation is not conversation - something of the original message, the original meaning, is lost via the translator. This got me thinking - isn't all conversation merely translation? Of course, the goal of hermeneutics, as I understand it, is to eliminate this translation - to explain how two parties can come to understand each other, to really know what the other person is saying, to enable themselves to think beyond themselves and put them in the person's position mentally. But is this ever possible? Isn't there always some sort of translation that needs to take place? Of course there is. But the way in which this translation is eliminated is through the transcendence of language. We come to understand the other through language by transcending the words of the language, and realize the concepts, the ideas, the meaning expressed by the Other. 

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