Wilhelm Dilthey on Texts - Dictionary of Arguments
Gadamer I 245
Texts/Hermeneutics/History/Dilthey/Gadamer: While Schleiermacher's hermeneutics is based on an artificial methodical abstraction that strived to create a universal tool of the spirit, but wanted to use this tool to express the salvific power of the Christian faith, hermeneutics was more than a means for Dilthey's foundation of the humanities. It is the universal medium of historical consciousness, for which there is no other knowledge of truth than that of understanding expression and in expression life.
Everything in history is understandable. Because everything is text. "Like the letters of a word, life and history have a meaning"(1) Thus, in the end, Dilthey conceives of the exploration of the historical past as a deciphering rather than a historical experience.
GadamerVsDilthey: It is undeniable that this did not fulfil the aim of the historical school. Romantic hermeneutics and the philological method on which it is based are not sufficient as a basis for history;
Gadamer I 246
nor does Dilthey's concept of the inductive process, borrowed from the natural sciences, suffice.
Historical experience, as he basically means it, is not a procedure and does not have the anonymity of a method.
Gadamer: [Dilthey approached] romantic hermeneutics in so far as it (...) did not even consider the historical nature of experience itself. It presupposed that the object of understanding is the text to be deciphered and understood in its sense. Thus every encounter with a text is a self-encounter of the spirit. Every text is foreign enough to set up a task, and yet familiar enough to know that its fundamental solvability is certain even if one knows nothing else about a text than that it is text, writing, spirit.
1. Dilthey, Ges. Schriften VII, 291_____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Gesammelte Schriften, Bd.1, Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften Göttingen 1990
Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik 7. durchgesehene Auflage Tübingen 1960/2010
H. G. Gadamer
The Relevance of the Beautiful, London 1986
Die Aktualität des Schönen: Kunst als Spiel, Symbol und Fest Stuttgart 1977