Gadamer's Fusion of Horizons and Intercultural Interpretation

Krahn, Ryan
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University of Guelph

Taking as its central motif Hans-Georg Gadamer’s claim that “the true locus of hermeneutics is [the] in-between,” this thesis defends Gadamer’s concept of the fusion of horizons as radically interstitial against recent allegations that link his project to Romantic interpretive commensurability. Distancing Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics from both the Romantic hermeneutical approach and the incommensurabilist alternative proposed by John D. Caputo, this study reassesses Gadamer’s contributions toward understanding the other in a manner that avoids both imperious reductions and hyperbolic valorizations of the other’s alterity. Extending this discussion to cross-cultural interpretation, this thesis concludes by arguing for the fusion of horizons as a model for conceiving a new postcolonial space, irreducible to the commensurabilism of colonialism and the incommensurabilism of nativism. To this end, Gadamer is brought into discussion with Homi K. Bhabha, whose work on cultural hybridity offers a striking parallel with Gadamer’s fusion of horizons.

ipseity, alterity, fusion of horizons, hybridity, postcolonial hermeneutics, Bhabha, Caputo, Homi K. Bhabha, postcolonialism, philosophical hermeneutics, commensurabilism, Incommensurabilism, Romantic hermeneutics, Cross-cultural interpretation, Hans-Georg Gadamer, John D. Caputo, Intercultural interpreation, Hermeneutics, Gadamer