In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Hans-Georg Gadamer

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Assessments of Gadamer’s Contribution
  • Anthologies
  • Bibliographies
  • Gadamer’s Collected Works in German
  • Other German Publications by Gadamer
  • Gadamer’s Principal Works in English Translation
  • Six Other Collections of Gadamer’s Essays in English Translation
  • Autobiography and Interviews
  • The Appropriation of Gadamer by Prominent Anglo-American Philosophers: Rorty, Taylor, McDowell, and Davidson
  • Responses to Gadamer’s Reading of the Greeks
  • Responses to Gadamer’s Aesthetics

Philosophy Hans-Georg Gadamer
Robert Dostal
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 September 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 September 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0281


Hans-Georg Gadamer (b. 1900–d. 2002) is known primarily for establishing philosophical hermeneutics as an important movement in contemporary philosophy. What is remarkable about Gadamer’s very large body of work is the paucity of published books. As was required for an academic career, Gadamer published his habilitation, Plato’s Dialectical Ethics, in 1931 (see Gadamer 1985a, cited under Gadamer’s Collected Works in German). He did not publish another book until 1960, when his main work, Truth and Method (Gadamer 1989b, cited under Gadamer’s Principal Works in English Translation), appeared. Almost all of Gadamer’s published work before and after 1960 is “occasional,” i.e., based on lectures and addresses. Some of these lectures and addresses were expanded into short monographs that were published in book form—among them, The Relevance of the Beautiful (Gadamer 1986b), and The Idea of the Good in Platonic-Aristotelian Philosophy (Gadamer 1986a), both cited under Gadamer’s Principal Works in English Translation). Between 1986 and 1995, Gadamer put together his Collected Works (Gesammelte Werke) in ten volumes that contain most but not all of his published work prior to 1995 (see Gadamer’s Collected Works in German). Gadamer made himself available for numerous interviews that provide insight into his work and into a century of German intellectual history.

General Overviews

The sources in this section are all good introductions to the life and work of Gadamer. For an excellent biography that attends to the work as well as the life, see Grondin 2003a. Grondin 2003b provides a good introduction to Gadamer’s hermeneutics. Hammermeister 1999 is an overview that is somewhat more comprehensive than Grondin 2003b.

  • Grondin, Jean. Hans-Georg Gadamer: A Biography. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003a.

    A well-received and definitive biography of Gadamer—thorough and well-researched. It is not a hagiography. (German edition: Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2001.)

  • Grondin, Jean. The Philosophy of Gadamer. Translated by Kathryn Plant. Chesham, UK: Acumen, 2003b.

    DOI: 10.1515/9780773582217

    This introduction to Gadamer was first published in French (Introduction à Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, 1999). It was published in German in 2000 (Einführung zu Gadamer, Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2000). It closely follows Truth and Method (Gadamer 1989b, cited under Gadamer’s Principal Works in English Translation), with a few references to Gadamer’s other work and to its critical reception.

  • Hammermeister, Kai. Hans-Georg Gadamer. Munich: C. H. Beck Verlag, 1999.

    A lucid and concise treatment of the whole of Gadamer’s thought with most attention paid to his hermeneutics. Also treats the critical reception. In German.

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