We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Effective History

On Critical Practice Under Historical Conditions


Publication Year: 2010

Effective History presents its reader with a thorough explanation and evaluation of H.-G. Gadamer’s concept of “effective history,” not only as it pertains to the broader range of hermeneutic and postmodern thinkers working in the wake of Kantian philosophy, but first and foremost as a careful and measured consideration of the practice of effective history as a critical method for philosophy in our current times.

Published by: Northwestern University Press


pdf iconDownload PDF


pdf iconDownload PDF


pdf iconDownload PDF
p. v


pdf iconDownload PDF
p. vii

List of Abbreviations

pdf iconDownload PDF
p. ix

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 3-33

To begin a book on effective history is to be already deprived of, because already furnished with, one’s beginning. The possibility of a grand opening, with a ceremonious placing of the foundation stone, is removed. There is a sense of having arrived too late, to find that a stone is already there in the spot one had thought to lay the founding one. ...

read more

1. Habermas: A Closet Kantian

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 34-92

Let us first turn to a still contemporary debate, between Habermas and Gadamer on our topic of the nature and possibility of critical practice under historical conditions. It is a debate in which there is ultimately at stake a Cartesian- style emptying of the apple basket, Habermas defending his conviction of the heuristic value of invoking a capacity for “pure” reflection ...

read more

2. Kant

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 93-139

This chapter exposes the manner in which Kant, with a carefully devised account of aesthetic judgment as pure reflection, would temper Descartes’ ideals of unity, purity, and certainty by acknowledging and accommodating the historical nature of human thought and action, and would thereby both anticipate and attempt to foreclose our “problem of history,” that is, our concern about the possibility of critical practice under historical conditions. ...

read more

3. Vattimo: A Closet Kantian

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 140-196

There is an established branch of criticism of Gadamer’s account of effective historical understanding, which joins with Habermas in objecting to the dearth of critical potential available from within one’s tradition and which yet appears far removed from those Enlightenment dreams of reason and progress that we have seen Habermas so faithfully, though unpersuasively, defend. This branch of criticism may be broadly described as reliant upon altogether more postmodern convictions ...

read more

4. Gadamer and Lyotard on Aesthetic Judgment (I): Some Problems

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 198-222

If, counter to traditional repute, it is to Descartes that we can look for the suggestion that our a priori foundations need not be more than hypothetically or provisionally held, but may, given confusions, contradictions, or simply demands for greater certainty, at some stage be themselves subject to scrutiny on the basis of other a priori assumptions, then it is certainly to Kant that we owe the simultaneous systematization and suppression of this account of a priori legitimacy. As we saw Foucault ...

read more

5. Gadamer and Lyotard on Aesthetic Judgment (II): The Story of Where They Go Wrong

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 223-296

Kant’s essay on the progress of the human race left us with two influential role models: the modern player and the postmodern spectator, with whom, by now, we are well acquainted and with whose various guises we are becoming familiar. An important aspect of their joint hegemony over our philosophical options, however, and one to which we have yet to call attention ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 297-319

Have Gadamer and Lyotard both been unfortunate, then, in the examples with which they chose to illustrate their rejection of Kant’s efforts to divide truth from its histories? Or have their examples been perfectly chosen, in illustration of what is effectively a continued adherence to Kant’s efforts to divide truth from its histories? In either of these cases, ...


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 321-344

Works Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 345-350

E-ISBN-13: 9780810165007
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810127142
Print-ISBN-10: 0810127148

Publication Year: 2010

Edition: New
Volume Title: 1

OCLC Number: 768320413
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Effective History

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Hermeneutics -- History -- 20th century.
  • Gadamer, Hans-Georg, 1900-2002.
  • History -- Philosophy.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access