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Gadamer on the subject's participation in the game of truth.

 The focus of subjectivity is a distorting mirror.
 The self-awareness of the individual is only a flickering in the
 closed circuits of historical life. (1)

THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE HEIDEGGERIAN CRITIQUE of subjectivity has left a profound mark on the philosophy of the twentieth century. Anyone who has read Sartre, Lacan, Levinas, Foucault, or Derrida can attest to this. Paradoxically, this critique resulted less in a complete disappearance of the subject from the philosophical scene than in its preservation under the minimal form of what one could call "a subject without qualities." Like the Heideggerian Dasein before them, "consciousness" for Sartre, "the subject of the unconscious" for Lacan, or "the subject of ethical responsibility" as understood by Levinas can all be seen as representative figures of such a minimal subjectivity. In these various forms, the subject's unstable existence is dominated, respectively, by the questioning of an impromptu givenness, by a blind drive for negation, by the arbitrary facticity of a chain of signifiers, or by the appeal of the face of the other.

The time has come to question the viability and compass of such a minimal subjectivity. Weren't Heidegger and his successors halted halfway because they feared a definitive repudiation of subjectivity would have had much too harmful consequences on the cultural and ethical acquisitions which the traditional conception of subjectivity had served to guarantee? Or, quite to the contrary, did they go too far in draining away all of the richness of the traditional conception of subjectivity, thereby only retaining the formal and abstract schema of an impersonal and uniform subjectivity?

The hermeneutic philosophy of Gadamer indisputably takes its lead from the Heideggerian platform. The understanding (Verstehen) which forms, for Gadamer, the common woof of all the diverse existential comportments is a mode of life which a classical conception of the subject of knowledge can hardly account for. What occurs in the understanding, namely the event of a truth, can no longer be attributed to the activity of an autonomous, egological consciousness. What is understood is something completely different from a subsisting object, and someone who understands what befalls him can no longer be presented as a purely impartial spectator. Even while still deserving in a certain manner to be called a "subject without qualities," according to Gadamer, the subject of the understanding--instead of constituting meanings--is already determined in its own facticity by the historical meaning of the human world which envelops the totality of all meanings.

Not only do such meanings truly exist only when they come to be understood by someone. Moreover, someone who understands truly exists only when understanding those meanings. This amounts to saying that the subject and the meanings it understands owe their appearing to one and the same event of a finite lightening of an infinite reservoir of meaning and truth. Precisely on account of their finitude and their insufficiency, every explicitly understood meaning and every subjective mode of the understanding stand out from the infinite richness of a pregiven cultural horizon. Before questioning an as yet obscure meaning, and before being concerned with its own identity, the subject is already possessed and challenged by the disclosure of a truth that infinitely surpasses it. It only participates in a succession of unforeseeable disclosures; it is a simple passenger whose itinerant identity is relative to the passage of events.

Is that to say that the subject according to Gadamer is little else than this Dasein which, for Heidegger, is merely realizing a mission consigned to it by Being alone? Is the world of the historical tradition, such as Gadamer conceives it, only one of the various forms of the Ereignis of Sein? Does the subject who comes to understand more and more of the cultural heritage the human world has bequeathed to it have nothing that properly belongs to it? Over and above its experience of life, such a subject also engages in a questioning of the store of meanings which precedes its birth. Have these nothing to teach it about itself?. Has the subject nothing to learn from its belonging to both the human world and a nature irreducible to the blind physis which gives birth to all appearing entities without being concerned with their differences? Is the subject only the interim site where the event of the uncovering of truth happens, or is it rather an individual person who, in the course of his empirical existence, makes strides in understanding the world around him and sets about envisioning other worlds? If Gadamer's subject lacks any qualities at birth, does it not at least have the power to acquire personal capacities and to construct for itself a personality within which transcendental determinability and empirical determinations merge together to inform what one used to call a character? Doesn't our civilization need individuals who, by virtue of their education and capacity for judgment, act responsibly in social life and who avail of the right course of action when it comes to making decisions which can change our life and the face of the world around us?


The Art Lover and the Football Player. It is not impossible to read Truth and Method as a defense and illustration of the existential analysis set out in Being and Time and to see Gadamer's hermeneutic as being only an embroidery adorning the sturdy Heideggerian cloth. Accordingly, one could point out that the objections Gadamer raises, concerning how Heidegger takes little notice of the immersion of human life in a strange and potentially hostile nature, are hardly followed up by any concrete results. In Truth and Method, it is hardly a question of the incomprehensible alterity of a natural life in which the subject would have to find the station which falls to it. To the contrary, Gadamer seems to content himself with painting a picture of a subject at home in a community of language and in a cultural tradition which it has but to claim for itself and to preserve in its heritage. Having received everything from the historical tradition and having no other task than to pass on what it owes to that tradition, the subject would thus have nothing which reverts to it alone. Its activity would amount to its participation in a process whose stakes and principles infinitely surpass it.

However, it is no less true that, in seeking to cut a path of his own between Heidegger and Hegel, which is to say between the finite lightening of Being and the triumphant march of an absolute reason in history, Gadamer finds in the game an original model for accounting for the progression of history and for the disclosures which it showers upon us. If all the events of history are thus taken up in the unfolding of one same game in which the infinitely renewed uncovering of new truths is at stake, the subject which participates in the advent of truth thus has to be understood as a player. Everything one can say about such a subject and everything one can require of it therefore seems to come down to playing this game correctly. Hence, one must ask whether this subject participates in the game of disclosure of a historical truth like a good football player. Concerning the former, as with the latter, is it so that his mental states and intimate personality remain insignificant, provided that he has good footwork and clear vision of the unfolding of the match? If it is true that Wittgenstein or Lacan would certainly not be opposed to such an understanding, in which the subject is taken as an impersonal moment in the autonomous and anonymous functioning of a game devoid of subjective stakes, what then can be said in Gadamer's case?

The phenomenological description of the game in Truth and Method is to be situated within the context of a philosophy of art. For its part, this philosophy of art serves as a propadeutic for an examination of the question of truth as it is posed by all the sciences of the mind (Geisteswissenschaften) and by the hermeneutic understanding which they put to use. The determination of the work of art as something built up and formed as a result of an event of truth--ein ins Gebilde verwandeltes Geschehen yon Wahrheit--plays a central role. This Heideggerian understanding of the work of art is accompanied, in Gadamer's philosophy, by a sweeping critique of modern aesthetics. Gadamer's critique is more particularly directed at the aesthetics of Kant and of German Romanticism, with respect to how they reduced the meaning of art to the subjective experience of an aesthetic pleasure. He would show that by being exclusively interested in subjective sentiments and experiences born of the encounter with the work of art, this tradition of philosophical aesthetics is incapable of accounting for the autonomy of the work of art, for its being part of a historical world, and for its truth value. Gadamer sees as proof of this the rigorous Kantian distinction between a cognitive and an aesthetic usage of the subjective faculties, which for him amounts to denying art's having any role to play in the search for knowledge of the truth. What for Kant still seemed to constitute a defect of aesthetic pleasure came to be its supreme privilege in Schiller's eyes. For Schiller, only the aesthetic sentiment liberates the subject from all subjection to conventional norms, and education through art thus becomes education for art. Its express purpose is none other than to awaken and to provoke the will to play or Spieltrieb which slumbers in every human person.

Gadamer's phenomenology of the game is thus anything but an extension of Schiller's aesthetics and of the privileged status which Schiller accorded to the game. To the contrary, it is guided from the outset by his protest against the scant consequences Kant attributed to the free play of the subjective faculties of knowledge in which aesthetic pleasure consists. Furthermore, it takes issue with Schiller's transformation of the game into a penchant, on the subject's part, for a free activity of playing, disencumbered from the weight of an engagement in the empirical world. Consequently, one can speak of an ontologization of the game in Gadamer, whose explicit aim is to give the work of art a meaning which no longer depends on the subject and its ludic activity. This stance on the autonomy of the work of art leads Gadamer to emancipate it from any obligatory reference to a subjective representation and to understand it as a representation of itself. If art sets the game of truth in motion, this must thus be a matter of a game whose nature consists in representing itself to itself. Indeed, for Gadamer, the principle function of every game consists in a "self-representation" (Selbstdarstellung). (2) It is thus not the subject but the game itself which wants to play and to be played, which wants to cast its meaning in the limelight, and which wants to be realized in a particular world of its own creation. Therefore, it seems that the game can, at its limit, do without human participation, and Gadamer does not fail to highlight expressions like "the play of the light, the play of waves." (3) These, it would seem, bear witness to how such a natural game should be properly conceived.

Human games like religious ceremonies, cultural celebrations, or forms of public entertainment are not to be fundamentally distinguished from such games of nature. They remain natural on account of their periodic movement, their repetitive character, and their indifference to any external finality. The human game is innocent or at least irresponsible; it is self-sufficient and delights in a narcissistic celebration of this self-sufficiency. This is why Gadamer can write: "The players are not the subject of play; instead play merely reaches representation (Darstellung) through the players." (4) The player thus only participates in a process whose unfolding and logic are imposed on him. He allows himself to be born away by the game, and even when he actively participates in a football game or a ceremony, he enters into the game's service in order to ensure its success. That is to say, he enters into the service of a match that would make good on its promises, or into the service of a party where no one shall get bored. All his activity is confined to the space of the game (Spielraum), the limits of which are fixed by the game's rules. The player is thus a simple performer whose own personal experiences not only have no import for the game; they may even harm its natural unfolding. To play is to forget oneself and to abandon oneself. It is to participate in devoting oneself entirely to the game: "To be present (Dabeisein), as a subjective act (Leistung) of a human attitude, has the character of being outside oneself (Aussersichsein)." (5)

Without a doubt, by characterizing the game as a representation in the sense of Darstellung and as a Darstellung of itself, Gadamer would distance himself vis-a-vis an understanding of the game as pertaining to a subjective activity of representation understood this time as Vorstellung. Such an undertaking of desubjectification or ontologization of the nature of representation cannot renege on its Heideggerian inspiration. (6) In his crusade against the conception of the subject such as it has been brought into play by modern epistemology, where neo-Kantianisrn represents, in his eyes, the latest exemplary illustration, Gadamer ends up applying his conception of the game and the player to all human comportments. For him, every human comportment is, in its essence, a Darstellung. That is, it comprises not only the activity of playing but also corporal gestures and linguistic expressions, the activity of understanding an event or that of reading a text.

What are they a Darstellung of, if not the thing or matter (Sache) at stake in each of these human activities? Far from being an immediate Vorstellung of this thing or even the constitution of its meaning, the act of understanding is only its secondary and derived Darstellung. This is because to be understood, the meaning of every thing already has to be realized under the form of an original Darstellung. This original Darstellung is its expression in spoken or written language and its insertion in the vast horizon of a culture handed down through history. If all understanding for Gadamer is the Darstellung of a Darstellung and not a Vorstellung mediated by a symbolic Darstellung which precedes it (as for Cassirer, for example), this is so because the subject which tries to understand something is itself already taken up in the woof of that which it would understand. Being the effect and not the cause of the truth of the thing to be understood, being the token expression rather than the author of a tacit establishment of meaning, someone who understands is once and for all incapable of extracting himself from the efficiency of history (Wirkungsgeschichte).

Just as no subject can exist without a cultural tradition which has fashioned it, so too is there nothing like an isolated thing stripped of any context whatsoever. A thing can only be understood by way of its expression or Darstellung, and this depiction comes under the sway of the symbolic network that is the Darstellung of the entire world of human life. This is why every human work contains a partial disclosure of the total meaning of the human world, which is to say that it involves an event of truth in which the explicitly revealed partial truth is inseparable from an implicit disclosure of a larger context of truth. To understand is thus not only to bound from one Darstellung to another but also to participate in the finite manifestation of an infinite truth. With finitude being the signal characteristic of this participation, the understanding engages the subject in an infinite process, that is, in a venture ha-ring no natural termination.

We must not be misled here by the metaphysical language of the "whole" and its "part" which Gadamer borrows from the hermeneutic tradition. Essentially, the Heideggerian conception of aletheia is his source of inspiration. However, he freely draws inspiration from it not only by taking, from the outset, the event of the uncovering of truth to be a historical event, but also by purposefully shuffling the history of being together with the history of human works. If the history of the understanding is the history of an infinite dialogue with the historical tradition, this history and this tradition are, for Gadamer, entirely composed of human works. Every form of the understanding is thus a work which refers to other works, and this is why a human existence respectful of truth bounds from work to work, from Darstellung to Darstellung. Rather than speaking, as we have done, of a double Darstellung, one must thus reckon with an infinite series of Darstellungen.

Accordingly, we can now understand better why Gadamer takes the game, and not the sending (Schickung), to be the original event of truth, and why he conceives of history as the game of truth. We have already remarked that the game is not the response to a demand or an external mission, and that it represents nothing other than itself. We should add that if the transmission of the historical tradition by the understanding belongs to a game of truth, this truth is made up of contingent events which are nothing other than the actual production of works (Gebilde) which recast (Darstellung) other, older works. Put differently, the game of truth in history is the reproduction, meaning the infinitely renewed repetition, of a same event. This event is that of the emergence of a work which, like a Leibnizian monad, reflects and condenses the whole history of a traditional culture. Even if the game's participants and circumstances never cease from changing, the same game is always played, and this game of truth only continues so long as there are men and women eager to replay the game of understanding and to play it for real. The game of understanding and the game of truth are thus, for Gadamer, one and the same game, and in the end it becomes clear that it is impossible to separate a history of Being from a history of the understanding through which man would respond, in a more or less appropriate (eigentlich) manner, to the enigmas of the truth of Being.

What, then, are the consequences of this conception of the game of truth for the conception of the subject of the understanding as a player? One receives the impression that the author of Truth and Method hesitates between two possible answers. On the one hand, he seems to want to say that this subject has no qualities of its own, which means that its nature is to play by complying with the rules of the game and by thus contributing to the Darstellung of the game. On the other hand, Gadamer devotes long analyses to the subject of the understanding, which for their part make it evident that the participant in the game of truth has to have rich personal capacities at its disposal. Explicitly professing the ideals of classical humanism, Gadamer conceives of the subject of the understanding as a personality whose natural gifts have become the object of a proper cultural education. This well-formed (gebildet) person is an exemplary interpreter of the cultural tradition because he has already let himself be instructed by it. Even if his understanding of the tradition remains a Darstellung or application (Anwendung) of the truth played out in the tradition, he has nevertheless learned to read texts well, to recognize their essential stakes, and to draw inspiration from them in order to make the right decisions. The key virtue this subject possesses is that of a phronesis formed and developed through a rich experience of life, which has come about thanks to a long-running familiarity with the works of the tradition.

It is significant that in the course of his analysis of the work of art as a game of truth transformed into a work (ins Gebilde verwandelt) Gadamer substitutes this second conception of the player for the first. It thus seems that the first conception of the player is shown to be insufficient as soon as the stakes of a game become a matter of disclosure or of an event of a truth. Such a game of truth concerns the player much more profoundly than, say, a football game does. Moreover, because it is a question of a partial disclosure of a total truth, it requires much more wide-ranging abilities. In the encounter with a work of art, the subject encounters a power of speech which is addressed to him (7) by dint of its revealing to him something about his own human existence. Thus, his response cannot be limited to playing the game or expertly analyzing the meaning of this work of art. Once being concerned in his own existence, it is only in the name of and through his historically informed personal existence that he is able at all to understand the truth at stake in a work of art. Even if his understanding remains a form of participation in the game of truth set in motion by the work of art, he is never the simple impersonal application of the rules of the game. The interpreter inspired by the work of art plays the game in a manner completely different from that of a good football player.

A good football player is a player who plays the game without mental states and without the least ambition of putting his personal qualities on display. He is the perfect illustration of a subject such as Lacan conceives of it under the title, "automaton." His comportment is opportunistic rather than individualistic. A good football player wholly conforms to the exigencies of the game. At each moment, he does what must be done so that the game may continue unfurling all its possibilities. He is, at every moment, an optimal Darstellung of the course of the game. He is not a cherry picker looking for an easy tap-in, but rather an artist on the ball who shoots on goal only after having sought to avail himself of the most spectacular passes and the most unprecedented stratagems in order to score what the connoisseurs will appreciate as a beautiful goal. He resembles the partygoer, a closer acquaintance of Gadamer's, for whom the success of a celebration or of a ceremony is much more important than the individual enjoyment he gets from it. Being a good player means wanting to share one's Darstellung of the game with the other participants in order to enhance the splendor of the game. This is why Gadamer strongly insists that every game involves, at least virtually, a number of players, and that the game produces not only an autonomous game world (Spielwelt) but also a new community of players. A beautiful football match is in fact just as much the expression of a particularly closely bonded team, of a Mannschaft, as it is a celebration of the glory of the game of football.

There is no good reason to scorn such players for their lack of personal qualities. Their opportunism is not inspired by a search for personal advancement. Rather, it is animated by an interest in the game itself and by a profound solidarity which links them with other players. When his opportunism is accompanied by a sufficient dose of altruism and when the erasure of his personal qualities attests to a renunciation of his own narcissism, the man without qualities attains an ideal stature. It thus seems viable to think that the enthusiasm kindled by the sober structuralist understanding of man was not devoid of moral or even religious motivations. The Romantic exaltation of the genius and of rich personalities does not only seem to be singularly maladapted to the conditions of present-day life. More than that, it can even appear to be pernicious to the preservation of a communitarian culture and to be capable of provoking more neuroses than exceptional personal destinies.

What we have called a minimal conception of subjectivity can thus still be born by the ambition to bestow on the individual human a place in a universe of works and symbolic meanings which, while surpassing his understanding, nevertheless sustains his existence. Such is in any case Gadamer's perspective and the reason for his opposition to Romanticism. In his philosophy, the renunciation of the Romantic conception of art is accompanied by the promise of a better and truer self-understanding. Someone who sets about contemplating the work of art without thereby seeking an exaltation of the sentiment of his singular subjectivity is gratified by what Gadamer calls an eminent restitution of one's own being (Restitution des eigenen Seins): "the absolute moment in which a spectator stands is at once self-forgetfulness and reconciliation with self. That which detaches him from everything also gives him back the whole of his being." (8) On the basis of what we have said about the consanguinity between art and the game, one might think that what holds true for the art lover already holds true for every player who lets go of himself in giving himself over to the game. Gadarner in fact writes: "The self-representation of the game involves the player's achieving, as it were, his own self-representation by playing, i.e. representing something." (9) Hence, the encounter with a work of art which brings into play the essence of truth as game only deepens the profundity of an event to which every player has already been exposed, namely, a Darstellung of that which bears one's existence at the precise moment when one loses oneself in the game.

The rift between the football player and the cultured person who can appreciate a work of art is thus less profound than it might at first have seemed. This is because the personal qualities indispensable for an art lover do not come from his personal genius but from his long familiarity with art. Everything that he understands about a work of art has been taught to him by art, and art teaches nothing to those who only ever see it as an occasion to exercise their subjective powers of judgment. All the same, a game of football is not a work of art. The disclosures that these two sorts of games involve--about oneself, about other men and women, and about the human world--have nothing in common. This difference is essentially due to how the game of football does not have the same sort of potential for truth as the work of art. As we have stressed repeatedly, the work of art is, for Gadamer, the work (Gebilde) of the game of truth itself. The principal stake of art thus lies in the manifestation of the truth of human life. Yet inasmuch as the work of art transforms the game of truth into a Gebilde, it opens up the possibility of an infinite repetition of its truth. Such a repetition is not only made possible by the fact that the work of art is, as Husserl says, an ideal object. It is made necessary by the fact that no single encounter with a work of art ever manages to exhaust its truth value. Far from being the repetition of one self-same event, each new encounter with the work of art allows one to understand it better and in this fashion augments its meaning and truth value.

The work of art is thus to be distinguished from the game of football not only on account of its greater autonomy vis-a-vis the player but also on account of its richness and the plasticity of comportments which it demands in return. Even though the game of football is one which makes a show or spectacle (Schauspiel) of itself, it. has a relatively fixed set of possibilities. In any case, these can never compare with those of a theatrical performance of a tragedy, each representation of which gives rise to unprecedented meanings and new comportments. This essential difference can be attributed to the fact (not explicitly touched upon by Gadamer) that a work of art has a different sort of symbolic meaning than the football game. In the football game, the game itself, and nothing else, comes into Darstellung, and by playing that game, the player is solely represented as football player. The self-representation of the football game does not open up any representations of things extraneous to the accomplishment of the game itself. The game of football owes its principal attraction, namely, its entertainment and recreation value for the spectator, precisely to this closed and circular character of its Darstellung.

When someone attends a performance of a Greek tragedy in the same state of mind and with the same expectations as he would a football match, he sets himself up for utter disappointment. He will be bored out of his skull and will complain that "nothing is happening." Yet when an art lover's every attention is focused on the staging of the play, on the actors' diction, or on the quality of the translation, he also misses out on the symbolic meaning of the tragedy. In such a case, the show does not touch him personally. In contrast to the game of football, whose subtleties only become apparent to the expert (which, moreover, every spectator believes himself to be), the tragic play is not meant for specialists but rather for every human person. What hangs in the balance in theater is the meaning of human life, and the experience of that life--however finite it indeed is--suffices for being able to understand something about the meaning of the performance of the tragedy.

All the same, the spectator of the tragedy--instead of understanding it exclusively on the basis of his own past experience of life--receives from it, to the contrary, a new disclosure about the meaning of his present and future life. In letting himself be touched in his humanity by the tragic destiny of Oedipus, the spectator is always already transported beyond the performance he is attending. When sympathizing with Oedipus, without identifying with him, one does not share in the blindness of the tragic hero. Instead, one deepens one's understanding of the human condition. The cathartic effect is thus a specific manner of letting oneself be touched by the disclosure of a truth whose meaning encircles Oedipus and the spectator while transcending them both. (10) The touching destiny of Oedipus and the sentiment of the touched spectator are shown to be symbolic fragments which clarify, without ever containing or exhausting, the meaning of all that which is human life. Gadamer writes:
 The spectator recognizes himself and his own finiteness in the
 face of the power of fate. (11) ... The tragic sadness (12) is
 not a response to the tragic course of events as such or to the
 justice of the fate that overtakes the hero, but it is an acceptance
 (Zustimmung) of the metaphysical order that is true for all. To see
 that 'this is how it is' is a kind of self-knowledge
 for the spectator, who emerges with new insight from the illusions
 in which he lives. The tragic affirmation is an insight which the
 spectator has by virtue of the continuity of significance in which
 he places himself. (13)

Is it then legitimate to think that this tragic disclosure of a totality of meaning and this new knowledge of self as being part of that totality, can equally be realized in other artistic disciplines'? Can one say that every work of art and even every cultural object--as game transformed into work--is an event of truth? Gadamer turns this corner without a moment's hesitation. Moreover, one cannot imagine why he would refrain from doing so after his having proclaimed that every transformation of a game into a work (Verwandlung ins Gebilde) amounts to "the transformation into the true" (Verwandlung ins Wahre). (14) Thus, all cultural objects, if we pay close attention to them, can give rise to a disclosure which is an event of truth. A truth takes place or happens, according to the conception Gadamer borrows from Aristotle and Heidegger, when a thing is shown in itself and from itself and when this showing is addressed to a witness who, rather than being impartial, is profoundly involved in the event of truth. Be that as it may, what is this thing whose truth is only disclosed in the event of a game metamorphosed into a work? What is the thing whose instable being is only revealed in the movement of the game, and whose persistence in being requires the assistance of a multitude of things? What is the original thing at stake in every event of truth? For a good Heideggerian like the author of Truth and Method, it is the world; the world is that which involves all things in their fitting together in relation to each other.

Restricted to the dimensions of art and culture, this world is the world of human life. For a game to have truth value, the disclosure of the meaning of this world of human life must form the horizon and the ultimate stake of the truth put into play by a particular thing. A game may open up the world by opening a new form of access to it, and any game which fails to do so cannot lay claim to the status of an event of truth. Inversely, there is truth value in any game which shifts a thing into a new context, thereby showing it to be different than we thought. Gadamer is certainly right to think, along with Heidegger, that the encounter with a work of art is the archetype of such an event. While concerning a world familiar to us, it nonetheless reveals to us hidden dimensions and in so doing forces us to understand the world differently. The event of truth can thus only come about for someone who lets himself be touched by it, which is to say, for someone who feels profoundly concerned in his own being by that which is revealed to him. He is someone ready to learn, or in other words, ready to change his manner of understanding the world and his manner of understanding himself on that basis. This amounts to saying that an event of truth is something very different from those truths which neither touch nor concern us, which teach us nothing new about ourselves or the world, and in which there is nothing at stake any longer, since everything about them has already been played out in advance. These sorts of truths are devoid of effect (Wirkung) because nothing happens in them.

Even though the show or spectacle (Schau-spiel) of tragedy represents a privileged form of disclosure of the meaning of human life, every other art form and even every cultural object can also give rise to an event of truth which changes our knowledge of the human world. But how must we understand the very particular relationship that the work of art maintains with the game or the thing which is represented in it (dargestellt)? By attributing to the artistic Darstellung a symbolic character, we have sought to emphasize how every work of art is something which, like the sign, has the function of referring beyond itself, that is, the function of making appear an ensemble of things which it does not contain in itself. However, by attributing a truth value to the work of art, we have also sought to show that the things revealed by art are inseparable from the appearing of the work of art. Even though the work of art does not contain, within itself, the truth it brings us to understand, it nevertheless brings us to understand that truth through its particular Darstellung, which is to say neither directly nor such as that truth would exist "in itself." The human world "in itself" is not revealed in a tragedy. Rather, what is revealed is a tragic aspect of the human world which the tragedy alone is able to reveal to us.

In bringing to appearance that which cannot appear without its mediation, and in making it appear without containing it, the work of art thus realizes a crucial form of appearing which we, together with Heidegger and Gadamer, have called "openness." This term is to be understood in an active sense: the work of art is not simply a window that gives onto the world. In giving the world, it informs and enhances the world's meaning. Gadamer provides an excellent illustration of this in his analysis of "The Ontological Value of the Picture (Bild)." (15) Rather than being the simple copy (Abbild) of the thing represented (dargestellt), every artistic image enriches the meaning of that thing and procures for it "an increase in being." (16) The thing such as it is represented thus only exists thanks to its representation in the image, and this image or work of art is an expression (Ausbildung) which gives its specific articulation to the meaning of the thing. Let us add that the game represented in the work of art does not come to an end in its representation, for each representation makes the game start over by adding a new dimension to it. Thus, between the thing and the image, there is established a infinite game of coming and going, which the German tongue denotes by the precise term, Wechselspiel.

This game of reciprocal references intertwines the thing, the work, and the understanding, in order to form a whole in which all these elements come to be bound up with each other. Every attempt to break with this free and infinite play between the equiprimordial constituents of the artistic Darstellung interrupts and destroys the game. One can only preserve the continuity of the artistic game and the enhancement of its truth value by respecting its circularity. One should thus eschew a linear presentation of the artistic Darstellung which would take the represented thing as the origin of the work of art, and which would take the work of art as the origin of the understanding in which the whole process would culminate--as if, terminating thus, the understanding would not thereby ebb and wash back over the thing itself. Every relationship of one element of the game to another, of the understanding to the thing, of the thing to the work, and of the work to the understanding, is thus necessarily mediated by a third element. If artistic truth is a matter of game, this game is always one in which a mediation is set in motion. The game of mediation forms the heart, of the phenomenological conception of truth set out by Gadamer. This holds true not only for the work of art but also for every cultural or linguistic object and for every historical event. For Gadamer, every subjective relationship to a thing (no matter what it might be) and all understanding of the event of a truth are relative to this mediation which constitutes the Darstellung of the thing in the work (taken in the broader sense of the term, that is, as Gebilde).


The Historical Tradition and Its Effect on the Cultured Subject. If there is, as Gadamer maintains, a natural kinship evinced in the manner in which the event of a truth comes about within the work of art and within history, it is not only necessary that the things at stake in history be cast into a Gebilde, but also that the subject seeking to understand them be affected, in his most profound being, by their meaning. The Gebilde in which historical events come by their Darstellung are easily identifiable as being those narratives, documents, and monuments which the historian ceaselessly researches and questions. Likewise, the necessity for the archives of the cultural tradition to mediate any understanding of historical facts need not be demonstrated. It is no less evident that the meaning of the things such documents reveal, to the historian capable of interrogation, in turn affects and modifies the historian's understanding of his own historical existence. Again, this modification and this new understanding lead to a better knowledge of what the subject has always already been without knowing it. By understanding history better, the historian understands better how history has fashioned the being that he is.

Hence, we find ourselves confronted with the same hermeneutic circle observed earlier with respect to the work of art. There it was seen how the work of art, in opening up the possibility for the art lover to have a new and better understanding of the world, equally contributes to a new and better understanding of his own existence. However, in distinction to the work of art, a new and better understanding of history has an effect not only on the manner in which the historian understands his existence but also on the manner in which this existence itself appears to him as being an effect of history. Therefore, one should not confuse Gadamer's acclaimed history of efficiency (Wirkungsgeschichte) with the simple efficiency of the hermeneutic circle, which is but a matter of understanding oneself better by understanding the world better. The history of efficiency is proper to historical phenomena, rather than being the simple narrative of the manner in which a truth, once understood, washes over the subject's apprehension of the truth of his own being. This is because the history of efficiency concerns the efficiency of history itself, instead of being the simple history of the efficiency of the understanding.

All the same, there is a profound and rich analogy between the understanding of a work of art and the understanding of facts or historical actions. In both of these forms of understanding, it is a question of the same hermeneutic circle, and the circular movement of this circle lends itself, in both cases, to a double reading. This is dictated according to the direction in which one traverses the hermeneutic circle. In traveling around it, one will place emphasis either upon the involvement of the subject of the understanding in the event of truth that he understands, or upon the capacities required on the part of the subject of understanding in order for an event of truth to come about.

In the hermeneutic circle--unlike the closed circle of the game of football--the subject of the understanding is taken up in a game of truth which brings about a new openness to the world, rather than letting itself be closed up in a space of play cleft from the world. The historian who progresses in understanding the historical world comes to understand better the position he occupies within that world; he understands himself as part of a whole while also grasping that his partial understanding of the whole is itself still an effect of the whole. The game of football, by contrast, does not require any understanding of a truth and does not require any personal sensibility to such a truth on the part of the player. Even though there are indeed rules in historical science, the meaning of history cannot at all be reduced, as the game of football can, to the rules it imposes on the historian's understanding. While the meaning of the game of football holds no mysteries and has no repercussions for all that lies outside its bounds, each historical action, to the contrary, progressively comes to refer to the entire history of humanity.

Therefore, the good historian is not someone who uses his perfect knowledge of the technical rules of his art to apply them opportunistically. Rather, he is someone who lets himself be touched by a meaning that continues to escape him. In this way, he lets himself be interrogated and solicited by enigmatic phenomena. What he seeks to understand puts into play his whole personality, his whole experience of life, the whole of his knowledge, and the whole of his modesty in the face of a task which infinitely surpasses his personal capacities. This is why the historian will never be certain of having understood something well, even if he has scrupulously followed the rules of historical interpretation and even if he has shown himself to be imaginative in their application. By associating other researchers with his enterprise, he will seek out the views of particularly competent and particularly rich personalities, and not just those of historians, whose sole quality consists in being good team players. Even if teams of historians or historical schools actually exist, they are groups in dialogue whose discussions regularly pose anew the stakes of their intended objectives and the methods they apply. (That being said, one has to admit that in university administrations it is ever more common to find football lovers dreaming of making scientific teams function with the efficacity of a Mannschaft.)

How then is one to understand this rich, cultured, open, and just personality, for whom football has no use, and without whom history would be transformed into a gigantic enterprise of accumulating and cataloguing simple facts? What is the subjective sensibility required for letting the disclosure of a historical truth occur? Whence derive the resources for understanding that which has truly come to pass in history? The same goes for the historian as for the art lover, whom we have portrayed as that paradoxical personality made up of a singular melange of a personal richness and the absence of excessively personal interests. The historian thus cannot be someone devoid of personal qualities, but it would be much worse still if he were caged within his own personage and shut up within his subjective certitudes. His true qualities are the product of his open mind, and they are shown only in the accomplishment of his art of understanding history. They are pragmatic and not substantial qualities. The philosophical tradition calls such dynamic qualities, connected to willing and acting, "virtues."

What virtues does the historian need to be able to understand the human truth which finds its representative Darstellung in historical documents? How does the historical education (Bildung) which Gadamer holds so dear become a virtue rather than a crushing weight that smothers all personal initiative'? We know that Gadamer's term for the virtue shared by the historian and the man of action (and which makes the historian a man of action) is phronesis. Only phronesis can guide enterprises like understanding history, where taking recourse in principles or general rules or placing too much confidence in accepted knowledge proves not only to be insufficient but inadequate and pernicious as well.

This powerful revaluation of phronesis by Gadamer also permits us to understand better why the foundation of a philosophical hermeneutics relies so heavily, in Truth and Method, on the long presentation of the "Leading Humanistic Concepts," those being "Culture (Bildung)," the "Sensus communis," "Judgment (Urteilskraft)," and "Taste (Geschmack)." These concepts of humanism (whose debt vis-a-vis the rhetorical tradition must be underscored) share a common trait, in that they all make a case in favor of a capacity of the subject to conduct itself well in the face of a novel situation for which established rules of conduct are lacking. At stake in these virtues of traditional humanism are faculties like judging correctly in the case of an unexpected event or making the right choice, meaning a choice that respects the stakes of the event. Additionally, they concern the capacity to devote oneself to detail without losing sight of the whole to which it belongs, to exercise tempered judgment, to face up to the concrete exigencies of a situation instead of getting lost in abstract speculations, to be spontaneously concerned with the common good, and so forth.

Such subjective virtues are not innate but have to be acquired and exercised. In their formation, things like life experience, a thorough knowledge of one's own culture, and interaction with people from foreign cultures all play an important role. If such virtues are required for a correct understanding of works of art, of historical testimonies, and finally of all cultural objects, and if these virtues are the fruit of empirical experiences, it follows that the subject possessing them is itself a subject determined and fashioned by the circumstances and the contingent events of its empirical life. Therefore, such a subject cannot be confused with the pure Ego or a transcendental subject which deserted its post in a particular historical world and which sheltered itself from the events of concrete life, about which, moreover, it understands nothing. If it is true that someone who wants to understand history has to let himself be touched, in his existence and in his self-understanding, by the historical events which he would question, then he will be able to attain his goals only by plunging himself into empirical life without reservation, rather than evading it.

The individual talent of a historian can be developed only through the closest of contacts with the most unexpected complications and the most intricate circumstances in the course of human life. The originality of his understanding of history is due to a personal richness, behind which lies not his personal genius but rather the manner in which he lets himself be affected, personally, by his prolonged interaction with the works of history. Without ignoring the necessity of taking a distance vis-a-vis the constellations of the events he questions, and without forgetting about the independent standpoint from which he must judge the meaning of those events, the soil in which the historian's talent burgeons is thus his proximity to human life and his sense of belonging to a tradition and a cultural community. The wisdom of phronesis which guides his undertaking comes front the thoughtful acceptance of his debt vis-a-vis the teachings of life, and of his dependence vis-a-vis the tradition to which he belongs.

Despite everything which separates the personality of the cultured historian front the proud autonomy of a transcendental subject, one should not think that this personality is the product of the historian's purely passive impregnation by the historical tradition. For Gadamer, the subject attempting to understand history is not only an effect of that history. Even though one cannot understand the meaning of events without letting oneself be affected by them, merely undergoing something does not suffice for being able to understand it. What historical documents reveal needs to be questioned, and it is only through a personal response made to an enigmatic disclosure that the documents come to speak to one. In responding to the effect of history, the historian is an effect of history responsible for what he says about history. His response to what Gadamer calls "a variety of voices in which the echo of the past is heard" (17) has to be personal, both in the way in which he listens to and in the style through which he approaches historical matters.

Such a response is not only the fruit of a prolonged interaction with diverse sorts of cultural formations (Gebilde). At every moment, it has to be reinvented. The virtues constituting the historian's personality--even though they are born of a prolonged familiarity with the past--are pragmatic virtues or virtues of action which permit him to face new situations. This is why the historian's personality is characterized by this flexibility or this versatility which permits him to respond to the exigencies of new concrete phenomena by adapting the schemas of his understanding. The better informed a historian is, the more his personality remains in need of and engaged in further education. Fluidity in one's understanding of the evolution of complex historical situations, openness to hitherto unexplored meanings, and the capacity to formulate good questions are, for Gadamer, the most fundamental virtues of the historian. One cannot cultivate these virtues without renouncing one's opinions (Mein-ungen) and one's personal particularities.


A Subject without Qualities and the Experience of the Incomprehensible. Be that as it may, one cannot claim that this subject which is born and impregnated by history is a "subject without qualities" in the same way as the mere player. The player is a prisoner of his game, while the cultured subject opens himself up to a game of truth upon which follow, in its wake, the manifold meanings of a whole culture. From these two sorts of subjects ensue totally different forms of selfness and totally different forms of self-experience. The player becomes the instrument of his game, while the cultured subject, exposed to the manifestation of a truth, is aware of himself as being shaped by the all-encompassing order of a world which demands to be understood. The symbolic character of his participation in a game of truth whose stakes infinitely transcend him is also made apparent by the fact that the cultured subject gives himself over to things whose presence, within the works with which he is occupied, is mixed with absence. The works he questions are presented to him as parts of a whole remaining beyond his grasp, while nevertheless announcing itself--under the form of horizon or implication of meaning--in the appearing of those works. In moving, necessarily, from one work to another, the hermeneutic subject is engaged in an endless dialogue with a tradition which continues within him and within his understanding. The mere player, on the other hand, does not allow himself to be swept down this descent into the infinite. He is concerned with only the finite and immediate tasks arising from a present situation.

Nonetheless, for Gadamer these capital differences which distinguish the cultured subject from the mere player are less important than their common departure from the conception of a pure or transcendental subjectivity which dominates modern philosophy and its understanding of knowledge and truth. In how both give themselves over to a game, the hermeneutic subject and the player devote themselves to an activity whose source remains external to them, and they devote themselves to it by losing themselves in what they are doing and in what remains for them to be done. Their existence knows of no such thing as a planned-out act of intentional consciousness founded on the self-consciousness of a transcendental subject. Even though the activity of the cultured subject and of the player is not devoid of any self-experience, this comes and goes with the course of the game. From this, there results a heteronomy and an instability of self-consciousness that is proper to a self, which apprehends itself as belonging to a whole that surpasses it.

This ontological relationship between the part and the totality characterizing the existence of the hermeneutic subject resists every attempt by intentional consciousness to reclaim that existence. Actual participation in a game thus comes at a double price. Not only must one renounce the transparency of an original self-consciousness, but one must also waive any claim to having an intentional consciousness of the course of the game and its stakes. The consciousness of the hermeneutic subject is nothing other than its consciousness of the disclosure of a truth. This disclosure of truth, by touching the hermeneutic subject, comes to concern it. The sensuous consciousness involved in this is precisely what prevents the events of truth and the involvement of the subject therein from being made into the object of an intentional consciousness or of a representation (Vorstellung).

The repeated experience of participating in games does not occur without leaving its mark on the hermeneutic subject as well as on the mere player. Yet these sediments of past games lead at most to habitual comportments and not to constant qualities of the subject. These habits of a subject without qualities have thus far been termed "virtues." These virtues are only revealed and are only exercised in one's actions, and they are thus interrelated with the dynamic character and the progressive unfolding of an action. This is why an occasional or even opportunistic character can be attributed to them. It goes without saying, however, that the virtues a hermeneutic subject has to have are not the same as those of a good football player. Their differences notwithstanding, the wisdom of the cultured subject and the opportunism of the player are virtues that are once and for all lacking in a pure transcendental subject. The subject does not freely give itself virtues; these result, on the contrary, from empirical experience and only happen to a subject who plunges himself into that experience without seeking to escape from it. These virtues are not formed by the subject itself but rather by the intrigues of the game, the events of truth, and the drama of human existence.

Gadamer's alternative to the subject of knowledge put forward by modern philosophy thus consists in an understanding of the subject as participating in events of which it could never claim to be the source. Plunged into the course of empirical events which permeate its most intimate fibers, the subject cannot take up a transcendental status. It is too affected by what happens to it to make itself out to be the condition of possibility of the occurrence of these events and of their infinite and universal meaning. Its concrete existence is too harangued and too dependent to get involved with reclaiming itself by way of an intentional self-consciousness. It owes what it knows about itself entirely to its empirical experience of a life whose meaning infinitely surpasses it. While being unaware of the ultimate meaning of its existence and being inundated by contingent and unforeseeable events, this subject which forgets about itself in its actions nevertheless never totally loses itself in the totality to which it belongs. It is distinguished from that totality precisely by the finitude of its understanding. This is why this understanding, despite its basic heteronomy, is never a simple effect of the totality of meaning which acts upon it. This totality is revealed in such a way that it beseeches an endeavor of understanding, while neither causing there to be nor imposing a particular form of the understanding.

The mediation of the relation between the understanding and the event of truth works not only to broaden the scope of the game. It also adds to the meaning of what is revealed and enriches the experience the hermeneutic subject has of itself. To understand is neither to act spontaneously nor to react in a constrained and forced manner. Rather, it is to respond and to do so by asking the right questions. The hermeneutic subject owes everything it knows about itself and about its place in the totality to its questioning of the works of humanity. This questioning is an induced activity which participates in the manifestation of the truth it seeks to understand. That is to say, the meaning of the questioning itself is still relative to that which it questions. Thus, properly speaking, the questioning subject, even if it occupies a strategic position in the game of truth, is not the site where truth occurs.

We could not conclude without inquiring, one last time, into the philosophical import of this conception of the game of truth and of the existence of the hermeneutic subject which Gadamer so brilliantly brings into play. In setting out in this direction, the stakes are nothing less than Gadamer's entire philosophical project understood as a universal hermeneutic. Does the understanding, such as the author of Truth and Method presents it, extend over the entire realm of human action? Is it true that every form of praxis, be it economical, social, cultural, ethical, or political, is based on the activity of understanding an event of truth which progressively comes to involve the totality of meanings of the human world? Can one understand everything, and can everything one understands so easily and so harmoniously come to be integrated into a totality of meanings? Is it true that the life of all humans is accomplished within one same cultural world which has been passed on to them by one same historical tradition? Can the logic of the whole and the part suffice to account for the plurality of forms of human existence? Is the multiculturalism of our contemporary societies a superficial phenomenon which does not in the least undermine the unity of one same world and one same human life which runs its course by diversifying itself?. Does the manner in which each of us leads an irremediably fragmented existence not provide proof that this unity of life and this uniqueness of the world belong to the realm of mythological or metaphysical fictions? Over and above the psychological, sociological, and political stakes of these questions, what have thus been called into question are the metaphysical grounds for Gadamer's hermeneutic. What permits the author of Truth and Method to assert that every constellation of Darstellungen and of their diverse meanings belongs to a "metaphysical order of being that is true for all"? (18)

I do not aspire to treat all these questions, nor do I wish to suggest that Gadamer leaves them unanswered. I shall content myself with just one question, to which Gadamer seems not to have paid enough attention. This question is quite simple and can be formulated as follows: "When and why do we need to understand?" Examining this question will not only allow us to touch upon, anew, the difference between the mere player and the hermeneutic subject but also force us to reflect upon the intimate relationship the understanding maintains with incomprehension.

If the good player is not so concerned with what happens to him, this is not so much because there is nothing to understand, but rather because, from the outset, he has already understood what a particular situation of the game requires him to do. The meaning of the situation presented to him is so self-evident that it does not require any endeavor of understanding on his part. Yet since nothing unexpected or enigmatic is shown to him in this situation, and since what is shown therein is not accompanied by hitherto unexplored developments or repercussions, what the player understands does not deserve being called an event of truth. In immediately understanding a situation, the meaning of which is already familiar to him, the player has already turned away from the possible truth value of that situation. For matters to change radically, it suffices to be a worse rather than better player. As soon as one poses the question of what one must do, which is to say as soon as the meaning and the exigencies of a game situation are no longer self-evident, the player's understanding is able to enter the regime of truth. Willy nilly, the player is turned into a hermeneutic subject when he is at grips with things or circumstances whose meaning escapes him. His sentiment of incomprehension is the subjective expression of the event of truth which has struck him and which demands to be understood better. Thus, being both a player and a hermeneutic subject at once is not simply a matter of one same person's being concerned with different things simultaneously. It would be more to the point to say that every hermeneutic subject is at bottom a clumsy player. Nothing prevents this hermeneutic subject, feeling his skill in understanding to be strong, from becoming once more a player who only flexes the muscles of his intelligence.

Thus, the disclosure of a truth which is at least partially incomprehensible is what gives birth to a hermeneutic subject. This is because incomprehension begets the need for understanding. Moreover, this incomprehension is often due to an experience of a vacillation or a loss of familiar meaning. Someone remaining insensitive to such enigmatic disclosures and insensitive to such destabilizing experiences has no reason to give up the comfort of his position as a good player. On the other hand, the discomfort of the hermeneutic subject will be all the greater when his understanding is recognized as being fragmentary and as being undermined by the explosion of the unity of the metaphysical order. The event of a truth that provokes the incomprehension of the subject thus reveals stakes which infinitely surpass the finite capacities of understanding of this subject. Because the new meaning revealed in the work of art or in testimony about a historical action reflects upon all the meanings of a cultural tradition, all of this culture is thus set at stake by an event of truth. Such an event of truth can add a new meaning to a culture, but it can just as easily reveal its flaws and lack of meaning.

While provoking the subject's incomprehension and changing the meaning of the world, the disclosure of a truth is also a temporal or even historical event. Thus, in trying to understand that event, there is as much a need to question its historical sources as to question its consequences. Generalizing a great deal, one could say that every event of truth has its source in the manifestation of an abnormal functioning of the game of cultural life. This anomaly always concerns the meaning of this culture by revealing its poverty, its erosion, or its insufficiency. Such a crisis of meaning which gives birth to new meanings changes our way of living and understanding. It forces us to quit the closed circle in which our habitual life unfolds. When life no longer goes without saying and when things no longer work as they should, the meaning of this life and of the things it deals with loses its anonymity by posing questions to the subject. Every crisis or loss of meaning is thus already an event of truth, even when its meaning remains, at least provisionally, incomprehensible for us.

In the case of art, this break with the habitual functioning of natural life is constitutive of its normal functioning. The work of art can appear as a work of art only by being distinguished, from the start, from the objects and instruments of the world of everyday life. Whenever the work of art is taken solely as a prestigious object or as an economic instrument, it is degraded, and just as with every understanding which does not break out of the closed circle of the conventional meanings and the canonical rules of an aesthetic game, every such degradation of the work of art irremediably undermines the artistic value of the work of art. This artistic value is inseparable from the event of a truth which demands a new manner of understanding. By trying to understand the singular meaning of a work of art, the subject sees itself gratified by a new understanding of the meaning of the entire world of human life and of its own existence within that world. Thus, by occupying a place on the margins of the world of natural life and by forcing us to break with the habitual schemas of the understanding, the work of art reveals hidden meanings of this world and of the existence of the subject. From one's incomprehension in face of the work of art, there arises the spark of a truth that no human will ever fully succeed in understanding.

In contrast to works of art, "intraworldly" objects and instruments belonging to the world of everyday life do not involve, in their normal functioning, any sort of event of truth. This is because the normal functioning of natural life is that of the game which seeks only to prolong itself by following the same established rules. On the player's pad"c, any participation in this game requires that he scrupulously follow the rules of the game. This is why the normal person is a good player who does not ask questions and whose comportment is perfectly adapted to the reality of the game of everyday life. What those champions of normality, the psychologists, call "cases of inadaptation" result from a derangement in the game of social life and are not simply the product of an evil will or individual perversity. Nevertheless, one must concede that such persons engaging in abnormal behavior do not have, for all that, a better understanding of the world around them. They are simply symptoms of a derangement of normal life, the meaning and truth value of which escapes them. In order for a new truth concerning the meaning of the world of human life to be brought to light, the dysfunctions in people's comportments and in their usage of familiar objects must not go so far as to undermine their symbolic value. The abnormal comportment must reveal a more general derangement of social life, and the objects which part company with the ordinary must open up new perspectives on the world to which they belong. Such comportments and objects must acquire the status of works or symbolic Darstellungen of the truth of the human world.

Therefore, a cultural object (and are not all objects cultural objects?) can become disclosive of a truth only to the extent that its usage or its meaning puts us in question and leads us to question the civilization which produced it. On a larger scale, what is called a crisis of civilization is a source of truth to the extent that it brings us to reflect upon the meaning of the civilization in crisis. If we wish to understand the contemporary world better, this is because the world questions us through its manifold forms of derangement. The responses that we formulate in seeking to understand it better are just as much manners of responding to the truth value of a historical event. However, it is perhaps not as certain as Gadamer seems to think that such a game of truth, made up of questions and answers, is necessarily a manner of prolonging the life of a tradition which is in danger. There is nothing to prevent one from thinking that a Wirkungsgeschichte could turn against its own source by imposing on us the endeavor of understanding the meaning of a rupture in the historical continuity of a cultural tradition. (19)

(1) Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, 2d ed., trans. J. C. B. Mohr, ed. Garrett Barden and John Cumming (London: Sheed and Ward, 1975), 245.

(2) Truth and Method, 97 and following.

(3) Truth and Method, 103.

(4) Ibid., 92.

(5) Ibid., 111.

(6) Here, one need only think of Carl-Friedrich yon Weizsacker's recollection, impossible to translate, of a conversation with Heidegger: "Zum Terminus 'Vorstellung' erzahlte ich ihm den Munchener Kallauer: 'Was stellen die beiden Lowen vor der Feldherrnhalle vor? Der eine den rechten, der andere den linken Fuss.' 'Das meine ich,' sagte Heidegger"; Erinnerungen an Martin Heidegger (Pfullingen: Neske, 1977), 244.

(7) Gadamer says that "the game of art" comprises "einen Anspruch auf Dauer und die Dauer eines Anspruches" (rendered in the English translation as: "a claim to permanence and the permanence of a claim"). See Truth and Method, 112.

(8) Truth and Method, 113-14.

(9) Truth and Method, 97.

(10) Compare Rudolf Bernet, "Sur la sublimation. Le sujet comme spectateur esthetique," in Schopenhauer, Les Cahiers de l'Herne (Paris: Herne, 1997), 317-33.

(11) "Der Zuschauer erkennt sich selbst und sein eigenes endliches Sein angesichts der Macht des Schicksals."

(12) The "tragische Wehmut" is Gadamer's translation for katharsis.

(13) Truth and Method, 117 (translation modified).

(14) Ibid., 101.

(15) Truth and Method, 119-27.

(16) Ibid., 124.

(17) Truth and Method, 252.

(18) Truth and Method, 117.

(19) This article has been translated from French by Basil Vassilicos.

Correspondence to: Husserl-Archief te Leuven, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kardinaal Mercierplein 2, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.
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Title Annotation:Hans-Georg Gadamer
Author:Bernet, Rudolf
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Date:Jun 1, 2005
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