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  • 1. Odenstedt, Anders
    Art and History in Gadamer's Hermeneutics2007In: Phanomenologische Forschungen, ISSN 0342-8117, p. 75-93Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper discusses Hans-Georg Gadamer’s account of what he sees as a major change in the approach to the Western philosophical and aesthetic traditions that began in the second half of the eighteenth century, and the results of this change today. According to Gadamer, these traditions ceased to be binding at this time and became objects of historical research. Instead of being seen even as potential sources of insight, traditional knowledge claims and works of art were subjected to historical and aesthetic analysis. Gadamer holds that these approaches have partially come to encompass the present as well. Thus, modern art has tended to sidestep cognitive and pedagogical tasks in, e.g., proceeding in a purely aesthetic, playful way. And the study of history has been seen as providing insight into the contextually determined nature of presuppositions, those of the modern age included. Gadamer argues that these perceptions of art and history unduly neglect their ability to provide learning.

  • 2.
    Odenstedt, Anders
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Human Work Science.
    Art, History, and the Decline of Tradition2017In: Gadamer on Tradition: Historical Context and the Limits of Reflection, Cham: Springer International Publishing , 2017, , p. 240p. 33-62Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

     Gadamer argues, in a prescriptive way, that the rise of the historical sciences coincided with a regrettable decline in the authority of the Western philosophical, religious, and aesthetic traditions. But Gadamer also argues, in a more descriptive way, that the history of Western culture since Greek antiquity fundamentally involves a number of uninterrupted traditions, or even a single uninterrupted tradition. Gadamer’s account of modern aesthetics and art shows a similar ambiguity. Gadamer argues, in a prescriptive way, that modern aesthetics and art are regrettably plagued by an “aesthetic consciousness” (ästhetisches Bewußtsein) that reduces the creation and reception of art to mere aesthetic play and that breaks with tradition. But Gadamer also argues, in a more descriptive way, that, ultimately, even the most esoteric modern artists retain a dependence on tradition.

  • 3.
    Odenstedt, Anders
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Human Work Science.
    Being a Child of One’s Time: Gadamer and Hegel on Thought and Historical Context2017In: Gadamer on Tradition: Historical Context and the Limits of Reflection, Cham: Springer International Publishing , 2017, , p. 240p. 191-216Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

     This chapter compares Hegel’s and Gadamer’s accounts of context-dependence. Hegel asserts that the individual is a “child of his time.” However, Hegel describes the relationship between thought and the historical context in different ways, and this chapter singles out four versions of the claim that the individual is a “child of his time” and of the historical context. Parallels to these claims can be found in Gadamer, and where such parallels are absent this can be explained by the difference between Hegel’s and Gadamer’s views of Bildung as third nature. Hegel is part of the reaction by the emerging science of history against the Enlightenment tendency to blame past historical epochs for contingently failing to live up to contemporary standards of rationality. Gadamer shares this reaction, although at the same time arguing that Hegel regrettably continues certain Enlightenment modes of thought.

  • 4.
    Odenstedt, Anders
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.
    Being a Child of One’s Time: Hegel on Thought and Cultural Context2012In: International philosophical quarterly, ISSN 0019-0365, E-ISSN 2153-8077, Vol. 52, no 3, p. 267-284Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Hegel often argues that the individual is fated to be a "child of his time" in the sense that the mind of the individual (“subjective Spirit”) is profoundly and inescapably influenced by its time, i.e. the cultural context which forms its temporal setting (“objective Spirit”). However, Hegel also suggests that the individual need not in every case be thus influenced after all. This paper discusses the following four main versions of Hegel's account of the relation between mind and its cultural context: (i) that everyday, "uneducated" (ungebildetes) thought harbors the presuppositions of its cultural context unreflectively; (ii) that philosophy overcomes the form of this unreflectiveness, but that the content of philosophy remains its time since it tries to reflectively justify current presuppositions; (iii) that this reflection occurs when a culture declines, and that philosophy, too, therefore is a child of its time, albeit in a different sense than everyday thought; and(iv) that an individual may be a minority thinker, despite what claim (i) says, but that even such an individual is a child of his time in the (even weaker) sense that he is unable to influence it, and that this is so precisely because he "transcends" it.

  • 5. Odenstedt, Anders
    Cognition and Cultural Context. An Inquiry Into Gadamer’s Theory of Context-Dependence2010Book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This study deals with the problem of the dependence of thought on its historical context, as discussed by the German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002). Gadamer argues that historical contexts are cognitively homogeneous in an unreflected way, and that this state of affairs is formed by shared presuppositions (Vorurteile) that are not questioned by individuals situated in a historical context, or even detected by them. In opposition to this claim it has been argued that historical contexts contain, e.g., a shared conceptual framework, or a preoccupation with certain problems, but that they are nevertheless largely heterogeneous in terms of presuppositions as such. A central issue of this study is the extent to which unreflected context-dependence persists in the modern era. Gadamer argues that the scope of reflection on this dependence has been overestimated, notably by philosophers in the Enlightenment tradition, and refers to Karl Popper and Jürgen Habermas as examples of this overestimation. According to Gadamer, the current awareness of context-dependence surpasses that of all previous epochs, but this difference is nevertheless a matter of degree rather than kind.In what sense is it correct to say that the very notion of unreflected context-dependence requires reflection, and that it therefore casts doubt on the claims made by Gadamer himself? According to a rather frequent objection to Gadamer, awareness of context-dependence occurs in a situation in which this dependence is reduced. Conversely, an individual subject to unreflected context-dependence would not be able to recognise his or her predicament in this respect. In this study, this objection is discussed in connection with general problems of interpretation in cultural and historical studies.

  • 6.
    Odenstedt, Anders
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Human Work Science.
    Conclusion2017In: Gadamer on Tradition: Historical Context and the Limits of Reflection, Cham: Springer International Publishing , 2017, , p. 240p. 217-221Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

     Gadamer asserts, in a passage that I have already quoted, that contextually induced presuppositions “occupy the interpreter’s consciousness” and that they are not at “free disposal.” This claim might be understood as saying that these presuppositions cannot be discarded. If this interpretation is correct, the claim perhaps says that one must use them without being able to shed them altogether but that one need not uncritically affirm them in so doing. However, this interpretation is not obvious insofar as one may rather understand the claim that presuppositions “occupy the interpreter’s consciousness” as saying that they are uncritically affirmed. The claim may even be understood as saying that they are to some extent unconscious. A further complexity here is that there are different ways of understanding the scope of awareness and critique of presuppositions. Even if all presuppositions cannot be simultaneously either criticized or brought to awareness, this would not seem to exclude the possibility that each one of them may be treated in both of these ways. Gadamer’s claims offer, this wide range of possible interpretations quite frequently.

  • 7.
    Odenstedt, Anders
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Human Work Science.
    Context-Dependence: Its Nature and Depth2017In: Gadamer on Tradition: Historical Context and the Limits of Reflection, Cham: Springer International Publishing , 2017, , p. 240p. 129-152Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Gadamer tends to argue that a historical context is cognitively homogeneous in an unreflected way, and that the context-dependence of presuppositions has been underestimated. By contrast, philosophers in the Enlightenment tradition argued (a) that the influence of the historical context on the individual is relatively weak and may in principle always be overcome, and (b) that historical contexts are basically similar because universal forms of thought and conduct occur in them. Gadamer denies (a) and (b), arguing that the unreflectiveness of context-dependence results from general kinds of presuppositions, which are implicit in more specific claims without being spelled out as such, and that the persistence of such presuppositions in a historical context is easily overlooked precisely because of their general character.

  • 8.
    Odenstedt, Anders
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Human Work Science.
    Forms of Reflection2017In: Gadamer on Tradition: Historical Context and the Limits of Reflection, Cham: Springer International Publishing , 2017, , p. 240p. 101-128Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

     This chapter considers the rather frequent objection to Gadamer, made by Jürgen Habermas, among others, that a theory of the unreflective nature of context-dependence of the kind proposed by Gadamer reduces the very lack of reflection that it asserts. Gadamer argues that context-dependence and the presuppositions that it involves are to some extent, or perhaps even largely, unreflected. But this very argument seems to rely on a reflective stance. However, a distinction should be made between a general idea of context-dependence and reflective awareness of the specific forms of this dependence. This very idea does not require that all presuppositions are reflected. Gadamer is therefore less vulnerable to the criticism that his theory of unreflectiveness contains incompatible elements than Habermas supposes. But Gadamer sometimes argues that most contextual influences are unreflected. This argument does not rely on a general idea of context-dependence only, but requires a form of reflection that is both specific and comprehensive to succeed. When Gadamer argues in this way, Habermas’ objection to him seems valid after all.

  • 9.
    Odenstedt, Anders
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Human Work Science.
    Gadamer and Hegel on Bildung2017In: Gadamer on Tradition: Historical Context and the Limits of Reflection, Cham: Springer International Publishing , 2017, , p. 240p. 153-189Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

     This chapter examines Gadamer’s and Hegel’s theory of Bildung (education or cultivation). According to Hegel, Bildung occurs in two main forms. Initially, the child is subject to (i) elementary education, which aims to integrate it into the cultural milieu. However, later in life this Bildung may become subject to (ii) questioning and critique as a result of higher education, and this, Hegel holds, is one goal of historical study. Through this study, and the awareness of the historical variability of belief and conduct that it creates, the individual may come to relate to her own historical context in a more reflective way than previously. Gadamer invokes Hegel’s account of Bildung in sense (ii) in his theory of the purpose of the historical sciences when arguing that the claims of the past may and should challenge the presuppositions of the present. But Gadamer also argues that the scope of Bildung in sense (ii) is restricted by the individual’s unreflective reliance on presuppositions of her own historical context, and thus (ultimately) by Bildung in sense (i).

  • 10. Odenstedt, Anders
    Gadamer on Context-Dependence2003In: Review of Metaphysics, ISSN 0034-6632, E-ISSN 2154-1302, Vol. 57, no 1, p. 75-104Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper deals with Hans-Georg Gadamer’s theory of the way in which cognition depends on its historical context. In section I and II the historical background of this theory is briefly described. In section III Gadamer’s claim that context-dependence involves unreflected presuppositions (Vorurteile) is discussed; throughout the paper, different senses of this claim are distinguished. Section IV examines Gadamer's corresponding claim that these presuppositions are of a general kind, with the result that the manifold of seemingly opposed and more specific views which rely on them is overrated by individuals sharing a historical context.

  • 11. Odenstedt, Anders
    Gadamer on the Limits of Reflection2005In: Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, ISSN 0007-1773, E-ISSN 2332-0486, Vol. 36, no 1, p. 39-54Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The notion that cognition unreflectively depends on its historical context plays a central role in Hans-Georg Gadamer’s philosophy. This paper deals with the rather frequent objection to Gadamer that a theory of unreflectiveness of the kind proposed by him reduces the very lack of reflection that it asserts. According to this objection, recognizing the limits of reflection shows that they have been overcome. Indeed, Gadamer argues that context-dependence and the presuppositions (Vorurteile) that it involves are largely unreflected. But this very argument seems to rely on a reflective stance. However, a distinction might be made between (i) a general idea of context-dependence and (ii) awareness of the specific forms of this dependence. (i) of course does not require that all contextually induced presuppositions are, or even may become, fully reflected. But Gadamer tends to argue that most contextual influences are unreflected, an argument that seems to suggest that the limits of reflection can indeed be overcome in sense (ii). This argument does not rely on a general idea of context-dependence, but requires a form of reflection which is both specific and comprehensive in order to succeed.

  • 12.
    Odenstedt, Anders
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Human Work Science.
    Gadamer on Tradition: Historical Context and the Limits of Reflection2017Book (Refereed)
  • 13. Odenstedt, Anders
    Hegel and Gadamer on Bildung2008In: The Southern Journal of Philosophy, ISSN 0038-4283, E-ISSN 2041-6962, Vol. 46, no 4, p. 559-80Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Hegel argues that Bildung (cultivation or education) involves an ability to reflect on one’s habitual beliefs in a detached, uncommitted way. According to Hegel, the educated (gebildete) individual is able to consider a manifold of standpoints on a given issue through awareness of the historical and cultural variability of basic beliefs. Hans-Georg Gadamer invokes Hegel’s account of Bildung, arguing that historical study creates awareness of cognitive plurality and change, and thus permits current presuppositions (Vorurteile) to become more reflected. The paper mainly tries to show three things: (i) that Hegel is a source of inspiration for Gadamer in this regard, but that there are also important differences between their accounts of Bildung; (ii) that these accounts are not unambiguous; and (iii) that Gadamer, in particular, makes somewhat elusive claims on the power of Bildung.

  • 14.
    Odenstedt, Anders
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Human Work Science.
    History as Conversation Versus History as Science: Gadamer and Dilthey2017In: Gadamer on Tradition: Historical Context and the Limits of Reflection, Cham: Springer International Publishing , 2017, , p. 240p. 63-100Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

     This chapter examines Gadamer’s view that Dilthey’s approach to historical study and, more generally, the approach of historicism, does not permit a “genuine conversation” (echten Gespräch) with the claims of the past. A genuine conversation is, Gadamer holds, such that its “subject matter” (Sache) is stressed. Although trust normally prevails in conversation, one may of course come to doubt the claims of the conversation partner and ultimately deny them. What historicism does, Gadamer argues, is something different. Historicism neither affirms nor denies the claims of the past in treating them as mere historical sources. However, Dilthey sometimes argues that metaphysical claims are “expressions of life” (Lebensäußerungen) that are independent of the historical contexts in which they occur, and that they are not historical sources alone. But Gadamer holds that treating claims as expressions, as Dilthey does, means treating them in a way that differs from the circumstances of a “genuine conversation.” According to Gadamer, Dilthey fails to respect the “moral bond” (sittliche Verbindlichkeit) of hermeneutical encounters. Respecting this bond means treating claims as true or false and not as mere expressions.

  • 15.
    Odenstedt, Anders
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.
    History as Conversation Versus History as Science. Gadamer and Dilthey2011In: Hermeneutics and the Art of Conversation, Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2011, p. 481-504Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Gadamer holds that Dilthey’s approach to history does not permit a "genuine conversation" (echten Gespräch) with the claims of the past. A genuine conversation, Gadamer holds, is such that its subject matter (Sache) is stressed. Although trust normally prevails in cases of this kind, one may of course come to doubt the claims of the other. But doubt is then expressed in critique, i.e., in claims to the effect that the other has failed to describe the subject matter properly. What Dilthey does, Gadamer holds, is something different. Dilthey neither affirms nor denies the claims of the past in treating them as a collection of historical sources. According to Gadamer, this approach fails to respect the “moral bond” (sittliche Verbindlichkeit) as it occurs in, e.g., everyday conversation. Respecting this bond means treating claims as true or false and not as mere expressions of the speaker or of his historical context. In this paper, the validity of Gadamer's views on everyday conversation in general and on Dilthey in particular is discussed.

  • 16.
    Odenstedt, Anders
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Human Work Science.
    Introduction2017In: Gadamer on Tradition: Historical Context and the Limits of Reflection, Cham: Springer International Publishing , 2017, , p. 240p. 1-31Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Gadamer often asserts that his account of the “the human sciences” (die Geisteswissenschaften) in general and the historical sciences in particular is descriptive and not prescriptive. One cannot, Gadamer thus holds, prescribe a method to these sciences which would permit their historically situated and context-dependent character to be overcome. But Gadamer also argues that the claims of the past are regrettably dismissed in historical study if they are seen as merely historical phenomena and as expressions of their respective contexts, instead of being seen as claims made to us. And this argument has prescriptive overtones.

  • 17. Odenstedt, Anders
    Kanske möts konsten och arkitekturen2008In: Svenska Dagbladet, ISSN 1101-2412Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 18.
    Odenstedt, Anders
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.
    Konst och verklighet: Sju föreläsningar i estetikens historia2019Book (Refereed)
  • 19. Odenstedt, Anders
    Tradition and Truth: Dilthey and Gadamer on the History of Philosophy2006In: Lychnos, ISSN 0076-1648, p. 164-78Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper deals with the views of the German philosophers Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911) and Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002) on the study of philosophy’s history. Gadamer criticizes Dilthey for relating to the Western philosophical tradition as if it were an object of purely historical interest lacking relevance to current concerns. Gadamer calls this approach to history historicism (Historismus). Indeed, Dilthey sometimes argued that metaphysical claims in the history of Western philosophy should not be understood in terms of how well (or badly) they capture their subject matters. Rather, they should be understood as unintended expressions (Ausdrücke) of their historical context. According to Gadamer, however, the history of philosophy should not be approached in this way. Gadamer agrees with historicism that thought depends on its historical context. But he nevertheless holds that historicism mistakenly sees this dependence as a reason for ignoring philosophical claims to validity. In this paper the completeness of Gadamer’s account of Dilthey is questioned. It is argued that Dilthey did not always assume that the question of the subject matter and truth of historical texts is subordinate to the question of their contextual sources.

  • 20. Odenstedt, Anders
    Värdet av bildning.2010In: Vårboken 2010, Umeå: Umeå School of Education , 2010, p. 75-83Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
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