Event Hermeneutics and Narrative: Tarrying in the Philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer

Date created: 

The primary aim of this thesis is to elucidate a frequently misunderstood and undervalued content in the hermeneutical philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer, his characterization of a modality of being he calls tarrying (Verweilen) as a special temporality. The characteristics of this temporality specify and deepen what he means by "eventhermeneutics." This time-concept is decisive for seeing the relevance of Gadamer's philosophical project to, for example, a defense of the humanities, as well as to the struggle over a meaningful concept of spirit. In light of this primary aim, a second dimension of this thesis is to consider the temporal qualities of narrative thinking and narrative art, especially those qualities relating to the measurement and assemblage of time, since these qualities make narrative art conspicuously exemplary of the calculative and planning reason whose "onesidedness" Gadamer's philosophical project opposes. Gadamer's many passing references to narrative art express reservations about this art form. Taken together, these amount less to a critique of the temporality of narrative than to a radical reconception of narrative art consistent with his own time-concept of tarrying. However, a view of narrative art that holds to the normative view of time and the corresponding ontology can be found in the work of Paul Ricoeur. His work develops from precisely what is critiqued by Gadamer. I stress the importance of this contrast for correctly situating their respective hermeneutical philosophies. Gadamer's alternative conception of time is much more radical than Ricoeur's, but because Gadamer implies rather then thematizes a critique of narrative temporality, it is left to the attentive reader to work out. English readers, though, have been hampered by the unavailability, until recently, of Gadamer translations, some of which are here examined.

The author has placed restrictions on the PDF copy of this thesis. The PDF is not printable nor copyable. If you would like the SFU Library to attempt to contact the author to get permission to print a copy, please email your request to summit-permissions@sfu.ca.
Document type: 
Department of English - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)