Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 July 2021
This chapter explores what Gadamer might mean by giving hermeneutics the task of “overcoming the primacy of self-consciousness” and asks whether it is really Hegel in his sights as he attempts to do so. The chapter first attends to the conflicting strands of deep solidarity with Hegel, coupled with just as deep a rejection. Gadamer’s final answer is that Hegel’s philosophy, whatever Hegel may have intended, did not completely break free of “subjectivism.” Of fundamental importance for Gadamer is the idea of finitude. Gadamer embraces what Hegel calls “the bad infinite” when he claims that the “soul’s dialogue with itself” has no teleological end point and is inexhaustible. Gadamer points to the limits of reflection.