Merging Horizons: Possibilities of Immediate Understanding

  • Sandra Eleonore Johst


From the philosophical hermeneutics Gadamer developed in his main work Truth and Method an ontological change was formulated: Being that can be understood is language. He talks about a fusion of horizons if understanding of texts or traditions is to succeed. First, this article examines Gadamer’s concept of understanding by contrasting it with Derrida’s deconstruction: How can we be sure that we really understand each other and not merely ourselves? Second, going beyond Gadamer, moments of social life are to be demonstrated where understanding succeeds immediately. The example of laughter clarifies that words are not the ultimate boarder of language. There are moments showing us a connection between each other in an almost immediate way. They expand the possibilities of our language for a successful understanding: Leaving room for them to happen increases the chance of understanding – in the scientific context of psychoanalysis and philosophy as well as in everyday communication.


Download data is not yet available.


Derrida, J. (2004). Der ununterbrochene Dialog. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Dilthey, W. (1974). Der Aufbau der geschichtlichen Welt in den Geis-teswissenschaften, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Gadamer, H.-G. (1986). Gesammelte Werke in 10 Bänden. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
Gadamer, H.-G. (1992). Gedicht und Gespräch. Frankfurt am Main: Insel Verlag.
Gadamer, H.-G. (1993). Grenzen der Sprache (1985). In Gesammelte Werke. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
Gadamer, H.-G. (2010). Wahrheit und Methode. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
Hüttinger, C. 1998. Das Lachen – ein Stottern der Sprache. In C. Asmuth, F. Glauner & B. Mojsisch (Hrsg.), Die Grenzen der Sprache. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: Grüner
Nietzsche, F. 1954. Also sprach Zarathustra. München: Carl Hanser Verlag.
Plessner, H. 1941. Lachen und Weinen. Arnheim: Van Loghum Slaterus.
Prütting, L. 2013. Homo Ridens. München: Karl Alber Verlag.
Wittgenstein, L. 1963. Tractatus logico-philosophicus. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
How to Cite
Johst, S. (2021). Merging Horizons: Possibilities of Immediate Understanding. Critical Hermeneutics, 4(2), 183-203.