The Humanities and the Art of Imagination


James Risser

The following essay was presented at the conference: The Capacity for Renaissance: the logic and force of the imagination, Gonzaga-in-Florence, February 20-22, 2014.

The title of this paper undoubtedly has little imagination. It is not even, one might say, interesting, for we already know that the disciplines comprising the humanities employ the imagination, especially so in the literary and, what we now call, the fine arts. But it is also equally the case in philosophy, although, as one could imagine, in a quite different way. In noting this difference we can at least raise the question of how it is possible to speak of the art of the imagination in the humanities as a whole. That is to say, without resorting to an inventory of the different uses of the imagination in the different disciplines, how is it that the humanities encompass the art of imagination? What lies within this question is the more specific question as to how the imagination lies within image and word in some common fashion.

To take up this question I want to turn to hermeneutics as that discipline within the humanities that, in its concern with the art of interpretation and understanding, is able to hold together the various disciplines of the humanities. I want to turn specifically to Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutics for it is here that the link between hermeneutics and the humanities receives its clearest expression. The central question of Gadamer’s now classic work Truth and Method concerns the experience of truth in the humanities that lie outside science with its paradigm of modern methodological research. As a preliminary matter for this question of truth, Gadamer points to the significance of the humanist tradition in which the humanities are rooted. He notes that humanism in general follows the Greek idea of education (paideia) where the individual learns to become free for his or her own humanity. Gadamer then follows the humanism of German classicism rather than that of the Renaissance to note that this idea of paideia finds expression in the idea of cultivation, Bildung. While Herder expresses this idea as the rising up of humanity through culture, Gadamer will heighten its meaning by pointing to the more profound idea of formation found within the word. This is the idea, not of simple shaping as in “forma,” but of what lies in “the mysterious ambiguity of Bild, which comprehends both Nachbild (image, copy) and Vorbild (model).” In the German word Bild there is the sense not only of form but of image and picture. Considered linguistically, Bildung pertains to the formation that takes place in accordance with an image, and ultimately it is the character of the image that comes to play a decisive role in Gadamer’s theory of understanding as something like an education in humanity.

Nowhere is his analysis of the image more prominent than in his discussion of the artistic picture which is to be understood ontologically and ultimately in terms of the question of truth in art. An artistic picture (Bild), he insists, is not the same as a copy (Abbild), for the function of a copy is to announce the original by resembling it; i.e., to be itself a form of imitation. The measure of its success is that one recognizes the original in the copy. That is, although a copy exists in its own right, its nature is to cancel out its independent existence by pointing beyond itself, to point to what is being imitated. An artistic picture, though, is not itself a copy since it is not intended to be canceled out. Similar to the mode of being of dramatic performance, the picture itself is what is meant. Accordingly, the viewer is informed not by being directed away from it to some anterior presentation, but by the self-presentation of the picture in which it has something to say in its own right. This feature of presentation is the positive distinction of being a picture as opposed to being a mere reflected image. The importance of this distinction for art should be immediately apparent. The pictorial artwork as Bild is not a form of presentation set within the ordinary understanding of mimesis which holds to an impoverished notion of the image/original distinction, and as such it is able to stand in a unique relation to truth. In the image that is a work of art something true can be presenting itself and not in the manner of a mere representation in which it is at best true to something originally present outside the work. As an example that certainly tests this idea, notice the presentation in the special case of the portrait. Here an individual is being presented in a representative way, but this means “that the person represented represents himself in the portrait and is represented by the portrait.”(1) What appears in the portrait, in other words, is an idealization that is not simply a representation, but has a certain ontological autonomy to show us what may not be seen in looking at the actual person, such as being statuesque, so that one can speak of the artwork as an increase in being.(2)

In the context of this ontological autonomy of the image Gadamer would prefer not to speak of an artwork as a work to avoid the idea that art is simply a construction. Rather, he regards the artwork as Gebilde, a formed image, a structure that takes its own unified form from within. The ideality that lies in the work is nothing more than the actuality that has become figured, and the full phrase for this self-presentation Gadamer calls “transformation into formed image” (Verwandlung ins Gebilde). Transformation is no mere alteration for altering implies that there is something that remains the same as that which is being altered, but transformation means that something is suddenly and as a whole something else. And thus for Gadamer the formed image, the figured structure, has its own measure and raises itself above the question whether it is actually real or not. And what is true of the visual image would also, with proper qualification, be true of the word, for the word for Gadamer is not simply a sign pointing to something outside itself but more like an image. It is more like an image in the sense that the intelligible reality that is articulated by language is not simply copied in language. Coming to language does not mean that a second existence is acquired as if words are mere representations for things. “A word,” he tells us, has a mysterious connection with what it ‘images’; it belongs to its being.”(3) This idea is clearly articulated by Gadamer when he speaks of poetry, which he considers to be language in a pre-eminent sense. He insists that the meaning of the poem, as true for all art, is not arrived at by going outside the poem, but is found within the poem in the way that the language of the poem is able to unfold meaning from the very words in the poem. “The poem intends only the poem itself.”(4)

Now, it is remarkable that in his theory of interpretation and understanding that relies so heavily on a richer notion of the image Gadamer has so little to say about the imagination.(5) Certainly, there is a notion of the imagination implicit in what has already been said about the image, one that is perhaps much too simple for our purposes, but which easily relates to the idea of formation. The imagination, Einbildung, would appear to be a matter of image making as an in-forming and putting-into-image, an in-forming as the possibility of bringing into image. And if so the act of imagination would then be for hermeneutics the very matter of formation, if not transformation. In such a simple notion we presume that imagination has the basic character not simply of bringing into image but of opening to view and bringing into view. Taken in this basic sense the imagination would seem to be able to be incorporated into the task of hermeneutic understanding, for it too is a matter of bringing into view. But precisely how imagination enters into the act of understanding in the humanities is not at all evident. As a way of pursuing now this connection between hermeneutics and the humanities and imagination, let me offer some further considerations under two headings: imagination as formation, and imagination as re-formation.


First consideration: imagination as formation.

In dealing with fictional narratives, Paul Ricoeur, the other great hermeneuticist of the 20th century, has noted that the dynamic relation between fiction and reality is hindered by prejudices that still dominate in the domain of the theory of imagination. “According to these prejudices, the image is only a mental thing, a thing in the mind; moreover, it is only the copy or replica of a pre-given reality, which becomes the indirect referent of the mental image. Against this first prejudice, it must be re-emphasized that the image is not enclosed within the mind, that it has a distinctive intentionality, namely to offer a model for perceiving things differently, the paradigm of a new vision. Against the second prejudice, it must be said that fiction is not an instance of reproductive imagination but of productive imagination. As such, it refers to reality not in order to copy it, but in order to prescribe a new reading. . . . With these prejudices put aside, the idea of a productive or creative reference loses is paradoxical appearance.”(6)

We have already seen, if only in a limited way, how Gadamer treats these same prejudices. The image as Bild is neither simply a mental thing nor a copy. For that matter we take it that for hermeneutics the image is not discussed in relation to perception where it has the sense of a weakened presence, nor in relation to absence as in memory. But this is precisely how the image arising from imagination has always been understood. It is precisely how Aristotle determined the imagination, i.e., the Greek phantasia from which our word fantasy is derived. In taking note of how Aristotle characterizes this term we can actually find a passageway from its classical determination to its productive sense involving a formation in relation to the real.

In Aristotle phantasia is indeed first of all a formative power. While on the one hand he links imagination, phantasia, to sensation as a kind of movement (kinesis) that comes about with sensation, i.e., it is sensation prolonged past the presence of an object, on the other hand he wants to speak of the mental image (phantasma) that comes to be through the imagination as in the act of memory. The key passage describing this movement occurs in a small work On Memory and Recollection. “How is it that while perceiving the affection we remember the absent thing which we are not perceiving? And if it is like a tracing (tupos) or drawing (graphe) in us, why should the perception of this be the memory of a different thing, rather than the affection itself.”(7) Aristotle answers by saying in effect that there is a doubling at work in memory in the same way a figure drawn on a panel is both a figure (zōon) and likeness (eikon), even though, he adds, the being of the two are not the same. The image in us can be something in its own right where it is the thing beheld or an image, or, as being something else it is a likeness or a reminder.

To leave behind this classical account in which the image is essentially a matter of reproduction let us note the way in which Aristotle describes the appearance of an image in memory. It is something like a picture (zographema)–literally a drawing of life–which comes from the motion of tracing (tupos) “in the same way people mark designs into things with rings.”(8)” Beyond the analysis given by Aristotle, let us note that drawing is after all quite literally the opening of form and thus indicates formation. Drawing is actually the opening of form in a double sense. As an opening it is a beginning, as if originating, what one ordinarily calls sketching out.(9). Here one can even speak of the gesture of drawing where gesture indicates the motion to express and thus the opening of signification, as if gesture were the very language of image.(10) But drawing as the opening of form is also a capacity in the sense that the figure being drawn has an incompleteness, as if in every drawing there is something provisional, a first look, thus granting to the imagination the power of extension. In this idea of drawing, image formation is already reaching beyond simple reproduction. And if every drawing is a tracing out, we can begin to move aside the limiting idea of reproduction even further by noting that tracing is not necessarily the simple re-marking of something already there, already in view. It is not only the simple idea of placing a thin, blank sheet of paper on top of another on which there is a design underneath so that one can then trace the design to make the design re-appear. It could be rather a tracing in which something only becomes manifest through the tracing, as if one could come to see the design underneath the tracing paper only by first tracing it, or see the beautiful lines of a familiar face only in the tracing, as if the tracing is an original drawing.(11)

We can extend this idea of creativity in tracing in yet other way by taking note of the precise way in which the Greek word tupos is a tracing. It is, as Aristotle tells us, to mark a design, but for one to mark a design, as in the impression of a seal, one does not actually trace in the ordinary sense of the word. Rather, it is to create something through the effect of a blow or of pressure. A tupos can thus be a hollow mark or an engraving as a mark from a blow. From this notion of a trace as an effect of a blow could we not say that a trace is something like “a sudden salience”? (12) What is salient is what is prominent, projecting outward. The original meaning of a salient point, punctum saliens, referred to the heart of an embryo, which seems to leap, indicating the starting point of anything. This phrase is used by Gaston Bachelard in his The Poetics of Space to describe the character of a poetic image and it is this work that I now want to briefly consider. With this notion of a sudden salience Bachelard breaks the exclusive connection between imagination and perception, for the sudden salience is to appear “on the surface of the psyche.” He regards the imagination then as a force of psychic production, by which he means that it is “a force of becoming for the human mind” as the opening of psychic life beyond the familiar.(13) Such becoming amounts to a surplus, if not an excess in the appearance of the world.(14) As such he places the whole of imagination in service to the creative imagination in word and image, to an imagination that will deform “first images” in order to give new form to the world whereby they are able to shape our understanding of ourselves by deepening human awareness.(15)

This description of the function of the imagination can actually help us in our initial concern to see a connection between hermeneutics, the humanities and imagination. For Bachelard the human should be defined “by the sum of those tendencies which impel him to surpass the human condition,” which is precisely what he sees occurring with the imagination. But here the imagination is no longer a possession of a transcendental consciousness, nor any consciousness for which there is idealism, and for that matter for any philosophy of the human that adheres to conventional notions of the subject and object. These terms are too conceptual for Bachelard and his phenomenology of imagination is to be found elsewhere. If the image is a psychic reality “both at the time of its birth and when it is in full flight, the image within us is the subject of the verb to imagine. It is not its direct object. In human reverie, the world imagines itself.”(16)” Here the human is the one “nourished by a poetic power” which transcends its control, and from it the human comes to be re-interpreted in some fashion. Bachelard–and this is why I am appealing to him here – gives us a new version of humanism, perhaps one that can complement Gadamer’s, a version that one commentator calls “a subversive humanism.”(17)

The font of his phenomenology of the imagination lies in the notion of reverie, which is for Bachelard not the same as a mere dream. More generally so, it is a state of consciousness “where unconscious forces confront perceptions and color them with personal affectivity.” It is a kind of creative daydream in which the imagining consciousness is “the origin of creativity.”(18)” And here the language of consciousness is actually too strong, for in reverie psychic life is engaged with the very emergence of being. It is in this sense that the de-formation of first images is to be understood: imagination is not the production of the unreal; it is not at the intersection with the real in order to cast it into the possibility of being unreal, but in order to surpass reality, to make it in some sense more real. “What,” Bachelard asks, “becomes of the perceived image when the imagination takes over the image to make it the sign of a world? In the poet’s reverie, the world is imagined, directly imagined. There, we are touching on one of the paradoxes of the imagination: while thinkers who reconstruct a world retrace a long path of reflections, the cosmic image is immediate. It gives us the whole before the parts. In its exuberance, it believes it is telling the whole of the Whole.”(19)

But exactly how are we to understand this exuberance in this non-referential functioning of the image? The poetic image has a being of its own, and the real measure of the being of the poetic image is captured in the idea of reverberation, which Bachelard acknowledges is an idea described first by Eugene Minkowski. As explained in an editorial note in The Poetics of Space, Minkowski takes up this idea as a way of explaining how form comes alive and fills with life. To quote Minkowski: “It is as though a well-spring existed in a sealed vase and its waves, repeatedly echoing against the side of the vase, filled it with their sonority. Or again, it is as though the sound of a hunting horn, reverberating everywhere through its echo, made the tiniest leaf, the tiniest wisp of moss shutter in a common movement and transform the whole forest, filling it to its limits into a vibrating sonorous world.” Minkowski adds that while the sonorous quality of reverberation is not meant in the sensory meaning of the word, it does not follow that such penetrating deep waves are “less harmonious, resonant, melodic and capable of determining the whole tonality of life.”(20)

And for Bachelard it is the poetic image that has this “sonority of being.” Even more so, in the poetic image is the imagination’s will to logos, as if in reverberation the poetic image “sets in motion the entire linguistic mechanism” and places us at the origin of speaking being.(21) It is where speech is trying to have a future. Expressed in this way one can begin to see that for Bachelard the poetic image is not to be confused with the literary metaphor. A metaphor is a word produced by a comparison that expands meaning in some sense, as if it is generated to compensate for what conceptual language cannot say; but Bachelard regards the metaphor as nothing more than a fabricated image, while the poetic image, which is to have its own autonomy, takes “its whole being from imagination.”(22)” And so, for Bachelard the poetic image is a phenomenon of being, while also being a phenomenon of the speaking being.

Given this creative expression of the creative imagination we see here, in a limited way, how Bachelard presents the relation between the humanities and the imagination. Bachelard, in a more exaggerated fashion than Gadamer, regards the work of image and with it the imagination also as an education in humanity, in this case as a coming to see who we are through an imagining consciousness that is in direct contact with the world. It is an education insofar as ordinary life only sustains the rule of identity, whereas the poetic image–and this is also true of science–sustains the ontological necessity of difference through which we remain an unfixed being. There are other parallels we can draw to Gadamer’s hermeneutics of the humanities. For both, the image has an autonomous power that functions to bring about something new in the precise sense that the world grows larger and we with it.(23) The specific connection that Bachelard makes between imagination and language also resonates with Gadamer’s hermeneutics in which the task of understanding is to bring the word and image to speak again. What is left hanging in the balance here is how this more pronounced characterization of the imagination can be grafted onto the very issue of hermeneutics as the issue of articulated meaning and understanding. Bachelard has not answered our question as to precisely how the imagination is able to not just bring into image but to bring into view–what we call understanding.(24) For this, let us turn to my second consideration.


Second consideration: imagination as re-formation

Here I will be brief. Let us call the imagination in relation to understanding and bringing into view re-formation. A re-formation is forming anew; but in marking out this term I do not want to suggest in any way that what is at issue in re-formation is reproduction. Rather, the issue remains the same; it is what Bachelard notes without further explication, namely, that the image offered us by reading the poem “becomes a new being in our language.”(25) At issue in bringing into view then is quite simply the experience of reading as the experience of bringing the text to speak again. And let us take note that while reading has its primary understanding in relation to written texts, its circumference is broad enough so that it is quite appropriate here to speak of “reading” in relation to word and image.

But what then is “reading”? For Gadamer reading is understanding and the fact that this is not a simple reproduction is immediately evident by seeing how a child learns to read. The child does not yet read by merely knowing the letters of the alphabet, which are themselves acquired by taking hold of the shape of sounds. The child is still not reading when verbalizing in a mechanical fashion, as we say “just mouthing the words,” just as “reading” a painting is more than identifying colors and shapes. Actual reading only occurs when the reader is able to bring into view the meaningful sense of what is being read in a process of interpretation. But notice the peculiar character of this interpretation when compared with the interpreting that occurs in a reproduction such as in a dramatic performance or a musical recital. Here too there must be understanding, but it is an understanding that has regard for the original intentions. This kind of performance will produce a new sensory appearance. In contrast, reading cannot maintain this kind of doubling. In reading the actuality of meaning “culminates in all its reality in the performance [Vollzug] of reading itself,” where a comparison with an original intention is lost from sight. Reading, in fact, cannot reenact the original process of producing the meaning. As if it were a form of intimacy, reading interprets what is meant as something shared. In reading one follows the direction of meaning from the text and builds it, i.e., forms and shapes it, “into the universe of meaning which the reader him or herself has already opened up.”(26) What comes to be understood in reading is that universe of meaning that has been built up into a formed image (Formgestalt), and “it is a formed image that comes forth thanks to the means possessed by the language of art and poetry, sculpture and picture, which in the flow of its play builds up the Gestalt.”(27)

This process of reading is so central to the experience of art for Gadamer that he will claim that art has its real being only in this accomplishing, this event of performance or fulfillment of meaning. The measure of being art is that something comes forth, where, in coming forth, it is truly there. Reading is just this experience of coming forth of a figured meaning. It is an encounter with the language of art as “an encounter with an unfinished event and is itself part of this event.”(28) But reading word and image will be no different from any experience with speaking where what is meant goes beyond what is said.

Now, if such is the character of reading, what then is interpretation? From what has been said it would be right to say that it is nothing other than the performance. That is to say, interpretation is inseparable from the enactment of language that for Gadamer specifically occurs in living conversation, whether a real one or not. Thus when we read a text we are in some sense in a conversation with the text. Now for Gadamer living conversation is itself captured by the movement of language being at work. His description of this movement is striking. “Every word,” he tells us, breaks forth as if from a center and is related to a whole, through which alone it is a word. Every word causes the whole of language to which it belongs to resonate and the whole world-view that underlies it to appear. Thus every word, as the event of a moment, carries with it the unsaid, to which it is related by responding and summoning.”(29)

In saying only this much about interpretation have we not just introduced the place of imagination in hermeneutics? Have we not just introduced how the imagination is able to bring into view, to set itself in service to reading and thus to understanding? Imagination is there in the formation occurring in the movement of language. Every word in relation to the whole of language has a capacity for infinitizing, for possibilizing. Such infinitizing occurs not from a prescription for actuality directed by its end, but from the intention of meaning that is in the process of being fulfilled. It is an infinitizing in relation to the very sonority of language that is there for the fulfillment.

But how does one word connect with another? How does language go from one word to another, issuing in a new word in this formation if not by a transfer of one to another? This is not the transfer of metaphor, which remains determined by a concept, but simply a transfer of the image that is the word, as if to say Bachelard is right, the image is the subject of the verb imagine. The creative transfer is of the imagination as the possibility of bringing into view. But the possibility here is not something in wait to be actualized. If every word carries the unsaid that is because it is already an opening of sense, protractive, drawing forward, as if it were a drawing. In saying this, there is no intention to dismiss the intelligibility that is language, i.e., logos. It is only to recognize that interpreting cannot be formalized, and that in understanding word and image we are not reaching a conclusion. In understanding word and picture something comes out, like a protrusion of sense.(30) Something is indeed been brought into view, and as with all work in the humanities, it is in relation to this protrusion that we continue with the ongoing formation of who we are.



1. Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, trans. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald Marshall (New York: Continuum, 1989), 148.

2. See Truth and Method, 151. As Gadamer explains this, the ontological valence of the picture consists in not being absolutely different from what it represents, but sharing in its being. So one can say that “what is represented comes into its own in the picture,” and in this there is an experience of an increase in being. “But that means it is there in the picture itself.” Truth and Method, 153.

3. Truth and Method, 416.

4. Gadamer, The Relevance of the Beautiful, trans. Nicholas Walker (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 107.

5. Gadamer mentions in the imagination in relation to Kant’s aesthetics, but nowhere does he incorporate it into his hermeneutics. In his essay “The University of the Hermeneutic Problem,” Gadamer does remark on the connection between the imagination and questioning. In asking about the opening of historical life to new meaning against the backdrop of the methodological sterility that is not carried out on the basis of a genuine question, Gadamer points to the imagination as the decisive function of the scholar. “Imagination naturally has a hermeneutical function and serves the sense for is questionable. It severs the ability to expose real, productive questions, something in which, generally speaking, only he who masters all the methods of his science succeeds.” Gadamer, “The University of the Hermeneutic Problem,” in Philosophical Hermeneutics, trans. David Linge (Berkeley: University of California University Press, 1976), 12.

6. Paul Ricoeur, “The Narrative Function,” in Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences, trans. John B. Thompson (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 292-93.

7. Aristotle, On the Soul and On Memory and Recollection, trans. Joe Sachs (Sante Fe, NM: Green Lion Press, 2004), 450b17.

8. On Memory and Recollection, 450a30.

9. See Jean-Luc Nancy, The Pleasure in Drawing, trans. Philip Armstrong (NY: Fordham University Press, 2013), 1.

10. “A gesture is something wholly corporeal and wholly spiritual at one and the same time. The gesture reveals no inner meaning behind itself. The whole being of the gesture lies in what it says. At the same time every gesture is also open take in an enigmatic fashion. It is a mystery that holds back as much as it reveals. For what the gesture reveals is the being of meaning rather than the knowledge of meaning.” The Relevance of the Beautiful, 79. For an excellent discussion of this idea of gesture in relation to word and image, see Dennis J. Schmidt, Between Word and Image: Heidegger, Klee, and Gadamer on Gesture and Genesis (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013), 106-140.

11. John Sallis, Force of Imagination (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000), 104-5.

12. Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans. Maria Jolas (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969), xi.

13. See Edward Kaplan, “Gaston Bachelard’s Philosophy of Imagination,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 33, 1 (1972): 3.

14. “The imagination is not, as the etymology suggests, the faculty of forming images of reality; it is the faculty for forming images that go beyond reality, which sing reality.” Bachelard, Water and Dreams: An Essay On the Imagination of Matter, trans. Edith Farrell (Dallas: The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, 1999), 16.

15. See Paul Ricoeur, “Metaphor and the Central Problem of Hermeneutics,” in Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences, 181. To quote Bachelard: “in our view any awareness is an increment to consciousness, and added light, a reinforcement of psychic coherence. Its swiftness or instantaneity can hide this growth from us. But there is a growth of being in every instance of awareness.” Bachelard, The Poetics of Reverie, trans. Daniel Russell (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969), 5.

16. Bachelard, Air and Dreams: An Essay On the Imagination of Movement, trans. Edith Farrell and C. Frederick Farrell (Dallas: The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, 1999), 14.

17. See Richard Kearney, Poetics of Imagining (New York: Fordham University Press, 1998), 96-97. See also McAllester Jones, Gaston Bachelard, Subversive Humanist (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991).

18. See The Poetics of Reverie, 7-10. See also “Gaston Bachelard’s Philosophy of Imagination,” 20.

19. The Poetics of Reverie, 175.

20. The Poetics of Space, xii-xiii.

21. The Poetics of Space, xix.

22. Ibid. 74.

23. In introducing his phenomenology of the poetic image in The Poetics of Reverie, Bachelard writes: “In our view any awareness is an increment to consciousness, and added light, a reinforcement of psychic coherence. Its swiftness or instantaneity can hide this growth from us. But there is a growth of being in every instance of awareness.” The Poetics of Reverie, 5.

24. Bachelard does get close to the idea of understanding when he writes: “In his solitary reverie, the dreamer of cosmic reverie is the veritable subject of the verb ‘to contemplate’, the primary evidence of the power of contemplation. . . . Is it knowing (connaître) to contemplate while dreaming? Is it understanding? It is certainly not perceiving? The eye which dreams does not see, or at least it sees with another vision.” The Poetics of Reverie, 174.

25. The Poetics of Space, xix.

26. Gadamer, “Reflections on My Philosophical Journey,” The Philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer (Chicago: Open Court, 1997), 53.

27. Gadamer, “The Artwork in Word and Image,” in The Gadamer Reader, trans. Richard Palmer (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2007), 218.

28. Truth and Method, 99.

29. Truth and Method, 458.

30. See Force of Imagination.

About the Author

James Risser

James Risser, professor of philosophy at Seattle University, serves currently on the Board of Directors for the Collegium Phaenomenologicum and for the North American Society for Philosophical Hermeneutics. His published works include Hermeneutics and the Voice of the Other: Re-reading Gadamer's Philosophical Hermeneutics (1997), and The Life of Understanding: A Contemporary Hermeneutics (2012). He is editor of Heidegger Toward the Turn: Essays on the Work of the 1930s (1999), coeditor of American Continental Philosophy (2000), and Associate Editor of the Journal Research in Phenomenology.