公 法 评 论 惟愿公平如大水滚滚,使公义如江河滔滔
et revelabitur quasi aqua iudicium et iustitia quasi torrens fortis







David Blacker

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign



A recent Business Week headline announced, “Productivity Assured — or We’ll Fix Them Free.” It seems at first like the usual story about a warranty covering some new product. But not quite. A further glance reveals the article’s subtitle: “Starting in 1994, L.A. high school grads will come with warranties.” The “products,” it seems, are the 640,000 students of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Upon graduation, they will each “come with” a written warranty guaranteeing employers that they possess the “basic skills needed to enter the work force.” If they cannot perform these “basic skills” as advertised, they will be sent back for remediation at the District’s expense.1

Given the parameters of current public discourse on education reform, what is perhaps most shocking to most of us at this conference is that the attitudes behind these student warranties are widely regarded as not shocking at all. The student as product or “human resource,” schooling as job training or “retooling,” education as the “key to our competitiveness” with the Germans or Japanese — far from being challenged, these conceptions are offered as justification by the proponents of education, often arguing against those who would wantonly slash budgets, close schools or otherwise tolerate “savage inequalities.” Most people, I venture, would probably agree that their child’s education — or their own — matters for something more than just the job it lands them (let alone how they personally fit into some national economic strategy), but the way these things get talked about in public rarely reflects these quieter convictions.

This latter-day “cult of efficiency” is of course decried loudly by our more reflective educators, usually because it is thought to be corrosive of the democratic and community values wherein education’s deeper purpose is thought to reside. Such a critical strategy is understandable: defend education against such narrowness by harnessing it to the aim of a cohesive and just society. While I would agree that such a move steps in the right direction, I would like to argue that, as noble as it may sound, it also has the effect of evacuating educational experience of its richest meaning. In order to show this, I would like to steer the discussion in a direction many will find old-fashioned, even simple-minded: that of there being a sense in which education is not justified by anything outside itself — a sense, in other words, in which education is thought of as intrinsically valuable. This is not to say that economic well-being is unimportant, nor community nor democracy — nor even to diminish these goods. Not at all. It is merely to suggest that here is at least some part of education that has reasons of its own, some part that is worthwhile not because of the commodities it procures nor even the sorts of citizens it creates. It is also to suggest that we are dangerously close to losing that vision, even as our need for it grows ever more urgent. But how might such a vision be articulated, without being called idealistic or, even worse, being labelled reactionary, in a political sense?

My answer attempts to renew a dialogically-grounded humanism, an old educational ideal that finds the beginnings of a compelling and novel defense in the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer. Gadamer’s writings present a theoretical framework for articulating a case for education as such against those who would justify it on narrowly utilitarian grounds. But that is not all. Gadamer argues that we miss the phenomenon completely when we think of education [Bildung] as something we use for our own private (or even collective) purposes, whether these be judged good or ill — or that we exactly use it at all. Rather, if the same categories even apply, it would be more correct to say that education uses us. Consequently, although we may be said to allow it to happen in certain ways, education as Bildung eludes us when we obtrude too severely on its proper sphere. In what follows, I will attempt to show how Gadamer makes sense of these bizarre claims.

For Gadamer, all understanding — whether of a text or of another person — is interpretive. Briefly and roughly, what this means is that, whatever else it is and does, understanding moves in what Heidegger called a “hermeneutic circle.” This is not, however, the vicious circle reviled by formal logic, but is a precondition for any understanding whatsoever; the circle is productive of meaning. To generate meaning from a text, for example, one must always move around from whole to part and back again. The “whole” may be the language in which the text was written, the literary tradition to which it belongs, its historical period, the life circumstances of its author, and so on. This “whole,” then, provides the backdrop against which one gives significance to the “part,” e.g., the particular words comprising the text, the individual work in question or the specific period of the author’s life. A helpful analogy is with understanding an ambiguous word within a sentence. If the meaning of the word itself is not immediately obvious, one must find it in its larger context. The newly appreciated meaning of the part (the word) then alters to a degree the meaning of the whole (the sentence). One never escapes “outside” this whole-part circuit — even the dictionary only relates words to other words.

Gadamer at once appropriates this old interpretive tradition, one that extends at least to the hermeneutics of Biblical exegesis in the Middle Ages, and takes it beyond the narrow confines of the interpretation of sacred texts. He claims that this basic whole-part circular structure characterizes any attempt to understand, whether the “object” of that understanding is a text, a natural phenomenon or even another person. Mutual understanding among persons, seen in this light, has at least one thing in common with the tradition of Biblical hermeneutics: to generate the potentially fecund interpretive circle, one must come to the text or person with a certain attitude of generosity, granting it a provisional truth (similar to Donald Davidson’s “principle of charity”). For if the text or person is known to be “false,” a very different sort of understanding ensues; one does not attend to the substantive truth of what is being said, but rather to the reasons the falsehood is uttered, the motives of the speaker, et cetera. Withholding the provisional truth assumption withdraws the interpreter from the “thing itself,” i.e., the subject matter at hand. In such a case, the text or person does not generate the circle of understanding. Instead, it is generated by the interpreter’s own presumption of falsehood or prejudice against what is written or said.

Gadamer argues that this situation is prohibitive of understanding in its deepest sense. No matter how difficult an exercise it may be, if one desires truly to understand, one must attempt to bracket one’s prejudices and attend to the substantive truth claims of the text or person; one must maintain — at least initially — an attitude of “openness” to the other. But this does not mean that one can, or even ought to, strive to eliminate one’s own prejudices; on the contrary, Gadamer argues against the possibility or desirability of a neutral, nonprejudicial standpoint from which to “evaluate” the other. Indeed, understanding in Gadamer’s sense does not arise by being “swept up” by the other, as one might be by a charismatic orator. The interpretive challenge is to maintain simultaneously the attitude of openness toward the text or person while also permitting, as best one can, one’s own prejudices to rise to the surface so as to “put them at play.”

But how are we to understand this delicate and demanding balancing act where one is both open to the claims of the other yet not forgetful or silent about one’s own prejudices? Gadamer compares this interpretive situation with a dialogue in which “a spirit rules, a bad one or a good one, a spirit of obdurateness and hesitancy or a spirit of communication and of easy exchange between I and Thou.”2 The spirit emerging from the dialogue is in turn likened to a game, whose normative authority (i.e., the rules and principles to which participants adhere insofar as they are playing) has a priority over the individual players. Insofar as they enter the world of the game, no matter how violent or competitive the playing of it might actually become, players cede their private concerns to something larger than themselves, viz., the game itself. Indeed,

the very fascination of the game for the playing consciousness roots precisely in its being taken up into a movement that has its own dynamic. The game is underway when the individual player participates in full earnest, that is, when he no longer holds himself back as one who is merely playing, for whom it is not serious. Those who cannot do this we call men who are unable to play.3

It might even be said that the game itself “takes over,” becoming master of the players while at the same time, perhaps paradoxically, its very being depends upon those same players to play it. One does not give oneself over completely to the “game,” though, for this would commit the error of assuming a false neutrality that dreams of bypassing the problem of interpretation altogether by stepping completely outside of oneself into the other. Again: one must maintain oneself in one’s pre-understandings (as one must certainly do) while simultaneously opening oneself to the “call” — the substantive truth claim — of the other, thereby putting one’s prejudices at risk.

Under these conditions, Gadamer argues, this phenomenon of play may provide a “clue to ontological explanation”; in the interpretive dialogue hermeneutic understanding establishes with its object, something comes about which is to a degree independent of both of them. In other words, as the prejudices of the interpreting consciousness are put into play with those of the object — as their horizons are “fused” — a common living language emerges.4 This symbolic meeting ground of tradition, which both depends upon individuals and structures their being-in-the-world, is largely what Hegel had in mind by Spirit, which comes to know itself through a process of Bildung (i.e., culture, development, education — the latter in what Dewey would call its “honorific” sense). As David Ingram describes the process:

Gadamer compares Bildung to a progressive fusion of horizons in which interpreter and tradition are elevated to participation in a higher universality. This fusion is at once the cancellation of both the parochial prejudices of the interpreter which impede access to the unique message of the tradition and the dead anachronisms implicit in the latter as well as the preservation and extension of what is common to both of them. The moment of cancellation results in a dual negation whereby both the being of the interpreter and the being of the tradition are altered.5

Unlike Hegel, however, Gadamer does not posit an end-state of absolute knowledge in which Spirit comes to know itself in toto. His concept of experience is much more open-ended than Hegel’s; it does not “progress” through the undergoing of stages but rather renders itself ever more open to new experiences. This is the true meaning of education for Gadamer; Bildung is a never-ending process of openness and a perpetual fusion of horizons, arising through dialogue, in which the ideal is never to stop learning.

As Gadamer famously concludes the “Afterword” to Truth and Method (after some 579 pages!): “the ongoing dialogue permits no final conclusion. It would be a poor hermeneuticist who thought he could have, or had to have, the last word.”6 The truly educated person — the true “hemeneuticist” — then, is “radically undogmatic” and ever open to the “experience that is made possible by experience itself.” (355) Such a person is open for education through intercourse with others as he or she undergoes a “continually recurring temptation to engage oneself in something or to become involved with someone.”7 The educated person is so “dialogically sensitive” that the mere presence of the other (perhaps even to mind only) can help break up her biases and enlarge her vision.

To make the notion of Bildung more concrete, then, Gadamer recasts it as a dialogue between interpreter and tradition in which the latter is experienced as a Thou. This point must be stressed: he is not saying that individuals like teachers and students in every case ought to engage in an intersubjective give-and-take. (In fact, he argues explicitly against erecting dialogue as a model for pedagogy.) Accordingly, sharing in this historically-constituted conversation does not mean that I experience tradition as the opinion of some person or other, but that I am able to enter into it as into a game made up of myself and other persons but not reducible to any of us. In this edifying tradition-forming, revising and conserving dialogue taking place in language — Hegelian Spirit conversing with itself — arises Bildung, which I see as the normative dimension of philosophical hermeneutics.

The conditions of possibility for this edifying dialogue may first be clarified negatively, by what it is not: an experience of the other that objectifies her from some “neutral” vantage point or, conversely, where one claims to know the other in advance, to her very “subjective” core.

The first type of experience of the other, Gadamer calls a “knowledge of human nature”: this is the guiding ideal of contemporary social sciences in which one tries to “discover typical behavior in one’s fellowmen and can make predictions about others on the basis of experience.” (358) The projects of abstraction and typification in behavioral and even cognitive psychology are exemplary. Their guiding assumption is that behavior can be regulated and manipulated (which is certainly correct). But since this assumption takes the other as calculable and manipulable in advance, it treats other persons as means rather than as ends in themselves (as “subjects” to be modified, for example). From the perspective of philosophical hermeneutics, however, it is not “wrong” in some abstract deontological sense but because it “flattens out” the hermeneutical circle; it impoverishes the abovementioned edifying dialogue by recognizing “only what is typical and regular in human behavior.”8 (I suspect that Gadamer, along with many other educators, might still want to say, however, that such an objectifying stance is indeed morally wrong insofar as it endangers the very preconditions for the exercise of practical reason, viz., phronesis, the sine qua non for the solidarities forming an authentic community life.) But whether it is morally wrong, prohibitive of understanding or both, it is surely a questionable foundation upon which to build a pedagogy that aspires beyond objectified “control” of its “subjects.”

The second type of experience represents an advance over the statistical “knowledge of human nature” in that at least the other is experienced as a unique person (again, in the Kantian sense, as an end in herself rather than a means to something else). But this other person’s claim is still placed at a “safe” distance because one thinks one already “knows” the other in an unconditioned way to the depths of her being. This is roughly what happens in certain types of historical or biographical writing, where the interpretive goal is to transpose oneself “into” another’s intentions or to attempt to know her by retracing her “actual” steps. (Who has not bristled at the well-meaning teacher or counselor who claims all-too easily to “know where you’re coming from”?) Here one thinks one has moved so thoroughly into the other via some reliable method that one considers all prejudices left behind; this type of historical consciousness dreams of a methodologically guaranteed end-state to the circle of understanding in which, in Hegelian language, subject and object achieve an absolute identity. The same critique would apply to a naively emotive attempt to understand the other purely through “empathy.” Again, this is “morally” wrong insofar as the act of understanding another person is itself a moral phenomenon. Whatever its moral weight, though, it is certainly a species of self-delusion or interpretive degeneration where one’s prejudices continue to operate “behind one’s back” and therefore one fails to “see what manifests itself by their light.” (360)

The “highest type” of hermeneutical understanding — the edifying dialogue upon which Bildung is predicated — avoids both the objectifying extreme of the statistical knowledge of human nature and the subjectifying extreme of the empathetic or historical consciousness. Gadamer models this edifying dialogue and its “structure of openness” upon the Platonic dialectic and its distinction between the inauthentic dialogue just described and the authentic one in which truth is disclosed. The latter is driven by a sincere questioning into some subject matter in which dialogue partners set out neither to outwit, out-argue, genetically “explain,” nor divine the intentions of one another. (It is quite possible that “someone practicing the art of dialectic” will even come off worse in the eyes of those observing the exchange.) The basic conditions for such a conversation clarifies those of understanding itself because both exhibit, in Georgia Warnke’s words, the tension “between presuming the truth claims of one’s object and adapting them — even if unconsciously — according to the traditions of one’s time and place.”9 The hermeneutic circle that constitutes the living being of tradition, then, is well-described as a dialogue or conversation between initial preunderstandings or prejudices in which they fuse and are fused into something more than they were by themselves beforehand.

What is required of interlocutors is the attitude of openness whose closest analogue is the Socratic docta ignorantia (learned ignorance), in which, through dialogue, I recognize both my own and my partner’s finitude and fallibility as we foreground each others’ hidden assumptions and beliefs. In other words, a genuinely questioning attitude highlights one’s situatedness and hence the contingency of one’s opinions; one learns that one does not know — the “most extreme negativity of doubt.” (362) In this state of readiness for understanding the thing itself, prejudices may be put into play upon a field wherein persons, to use Hegel’s phrase, for the first time “recognize themselves as mutually recognizing one another.”10 This mutual recognition is manifest in the inter-subjective substratum the authentic dialogue discloses:

Coming to an understanding in conversation presupposes that the partners are ready for it and that they try to allow for the validity of what is alien and contrary to themselves. If this happens on a reciprocal basis and each of the partners, while holding to his own ground simultaneously weights the counter-arguments, they can ultimately achieve a common language and a common judgment in an imperceptible and non-arbitrary transfer of viewpoints. (388)

This emergent common language is nothing less than the “Logos, which is neither mine nor yours and which therefore so far supersedes the subjective opinions of the discussion partners that even the leader of the discussion always remains the ignorant one.”11 (388)

The edifying dialogue enabled by language thus “always involves rising to a higher universality that overcomes not only our own particularity but also that of the other.” (305) This ceaseless overcoming is a process of Bildung, which is not something autonomous subjects “do,” but is rather more like something done with them; we “fall into” conversation and are “swept away” as by something with a life of its own:

Understanding or its failure is like an event that happens to us. Thus we can say that something was a good conversation or that it was ill fated. All this shows that a conversation has a spirit of its own, and that the language in which it is conducted bears its own truth within it — i.e., that it allows something to “emerge” which henceforth exists. (383)

To the extent, then, that Bildung happens to us, it would be imprecise to characterize Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics as prescriptive, i.e., as providing some code of dialogical conduct to which individuals ought to adhere (this, incidentally, is an important difference between Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics and the “communicative ethics” of Habermas). Instead, given the explicit analogy with the homecoming of Hegelian Geist, it seems more appropriate to describe it, along with Ingram, as teleological.12

But it is indeed an odd sort of teleology which, unlike Hegel’s, provides no guaranteed endpoint, “rational” or otherwise. What is more, Gadamer often fore-grounds this absence of any guarantees as a positive danger which has “marginalized practical reason” and consequently threatens the possibility of Bildung itself, viz., technology. (556) In fact, Gadamer identifies the basic task of hermeneutics as seeking to “reconnect the objective world of technology, which the sciences place at our disposal and discretion, with the fundamental orders of our being that are neither arbitrary nor manipulable by us, but simply demand our respect.”13 And again, even more strongly:

Both rhetoric and the transmission of scientific knowledge are monological in form; both need the counterbalance of hermeneutical appropriation, which works in the form of dialogue. And precisely and especially practical and political reason can only be realized and transmitted dialogically. I think, then, that the chief task of philosophy is to justify this way of reason and to defend practical and political reason against the domination of technology based upon science…it vindicates the noblest task of the citizen…decision-making, according to one’s own responsibility….14

Following Heidegger, Gadamer regards modern technology as the most “extreme danger,” which presents beings — even human being — as a “standing reserve,” or as means for ends which have somehow always already been “decided” and are experienced as if they had the “inevitableness of an unalterable course.”15

Throughout Truth and Method Gadamer is at pains to distinguish hermeneutical understanding from that of a techne, in which an artisan follows a guiding image (eidos) to create his product. This image is of the use to which the product will be put, which, unlike the guiding ideal in ethical knowledge, persists unaltered in the realization of the thing. In technological thinking, the guiding image or end becomes hidden and resists being called forth by understanding; the ends of our activities tend to become sedimented beneath an all-encompassing concern with the means. The attitude of questioning is thereby suppressed in favor of the norms of a purely instrumental rationality, such as punctuality, efficiency, productivity and the like. The parameters of understanding are drawn tightly, like a noose, around what Gadamer calls the thing itself [die Sache selbst].

Given this “extreme danger,” the telos involved in Bildung does not seem so teleological after all; it is in no way assured, because its sine qua non — the authentic dialogue that questions — is capable of, and is perhaps even now undergoing, an erosion of some kind. The externally-administered “smooth front of popular opinion” which suppresses questions on the societal scale, seems ever-smoother as “[e]ven the opinions which form the patterns of social life and constitute the normative conditions for solidarity are today dominated to a great extent by the technical and economic organizations within our civilization.”16 In other words, as the commitment to rigorous method has in this century finally been carried over from the natural into the human sciences and from there into political life, a most dangerous situation has developed. “Public opinion” has surfaced as an object of study and is consequently vulnerable to technical manipulation; the public has itself become instrumentalized. Gadamer calls this “the main problem facing our civilization.”17 In such a situation, the deeper questions concerning the ends a society or culture sets itself disappears from the view of this public; a tool — even a large and unwieldy one like the public — cannot itself assign the ends of its own endeavors.

To illustrate this danger, Gadamer proposes a fairly simple thought experiment: imagine an ideal “technologist” or “physicist” of society — a sort of social theoretical LaPlacian demon.18 Such a creature would indeed be able to construct a comprehensive theory of society that would make possible ever more refined techniques of social engineering. But the physicist of society would still not guarantee wise choices from among the technical possibilities open to him or her. For, following Aristotle’s critique of Plato, phronesis (the platform upon which practical reason is exercised) is not a techne that follows a blue print pursuant to some use. Neither is it teachable nor learnable in any formulaic way nor, one dares to say, programmable. Rather, it is a “different kind of knowing” that concerns itself with concrete situations: not just knowing what is on the balance sheet, but determining what the numbers may mean for a human life.

This “determining” represents the free space of individual judgment — the ability to mediate and concretize, via the hermeneutical circle of understanding, the universal and the particular in social life — a virtue upon which any notion of participatory democracy depends. The problem, then, is that (as in the case of public opinion) this space of judgment constricts as public life is “worked on” by social experts who “stand on the verge of concretizing and banalizing an increased number of areas which heretofore belonged to the domain of public judgment.”19 The participation of the average citizen in political affairs, for example, is restricted to “voting” in decreasingly meaningful elections. Or, more precisely still, to serving as data for focus groups or exit polls.

All of this may sound rather dystopian, but Gadamer does seem to hold out the possibility that Bildung may somehow proceed through those “noble” types of democratic association that stand or fall with their citizens’ dialogical enrichment. But of precisely how we are to understand these associations (what he calls “solidarities”20) — let alone how we might act to bring them about — Gadamer has precious little to say.21 It ought to be clear enough for us, however, that at the very least Bildung has too many reasons of its own to be shoved under the tent of any politico’s designs for it. Accordingly, perhaps a reversal from the tired old “noble lie” of civic education is warranted: not education for democracy but, for both their sakes, “allowing education to happen” as one of the things that democracy is good for.

For a response to this essay, see Giarelli.



1 Business Week, November 25, 1991. The basic skills promised (math, reading, “effective communication”) are complemented with such things as “personal qualities,” which include “integrity,” “initiative” and “responsibility.” One can only the imagine remedial “integrity” training sessions!

2 H. -G. Gadamer, “Man and Language,” in Philosophical Hermeneutics, trans. and ed. David E. Linge (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), 66

3 Gadamer, “Man and Language,” 66.

4 The term “fusion of horizons” is meant to overcome the narrowly psychologistic (i.e., having to do with personal beliefs) account of Romantic hermeneutics. The term “horizon” is from Husserl, where it is also meant to express the region of our intentionality in perception (in both a spatial and temporal sense). For Gadamer, the term is broadened and expresses one’s historical and cultural situatedness, as well as the context-bound character of interpretation. For Gadamer, our horizon “moves with us” as we gain in understanding.

5 David Ingram, “Hermeneutics and Truth,” Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 15, no. 1 (January 1984): 70.

6 H. -G. Gadamer, Truth and Method, trans. and revised by Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall (New York: Crossroads, 1989), 579. Hereafter quotes from this work will be included parenthetically in the text.

7 Gadamer, “Text and Interpretation,” in Dialogue and Deconstruction: The Gadamer-Derrida Encounter (Albany: SUNY Press, 1989), 26.

8 Gadamer, “Text and Interpretation,” 26. This is the source of Gadamer’s quarrel with Habermas. Gadamer argues that Habermas’s recommended “psychoanalytic” posture toward others, though proffered under the banner of liberation, falls into the “knowledge of human nature” category. One knows a priori from the communicative “laws” of human behavior the general outlines of the other’s “problems.” Hermeneutical understanding in its richest sense is precluded because from such heights the substantive truth claims of the other are not taken seriously and, consequently, the other does not truly speak to one; insofar as one attends to whether or not the dialogical rules are being followed, one distances oneself from the discussion’s subject matter. Ironically enough, on Gadamer’s view, in the name of greater dialogical reciprocity (i.e., overcoming “pathological communication”), Habermas erects a model of human interaction that is manifestly non-reciprocal. Cf. Jurgen Habermas, “The Hermeneutic Claim to Universality,” in The Hermeneutic Tradition: From Ast to Ricoeur, ed. Gayle Ormiston and Alan Schrift (Albany: SUNY Press, 1990), 257ff.

9 Georgia Warnke, Gadamer: Hermeneutics, Tradition, Reason (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987), 100.

10 G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), 112.

11 Gadamer quotes the famous Heraclitean fragment that reads: “We ought to follow what is common to all; but though the logos is common to all, the many live as though their thought were private to themselves.” Heraclitus, Fragment 5.36, in John Mansley Robinson, An Introduction to Early Greek Philosophy: The Chief Fragments and Ancient Testimony, with Connecting Commentary (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1968), 95.

12 Ingram, “Hermeneutics and Truth,” 68.

13 Gadamer, “The Universality of the Hermeneutical Problem” (1966) in Philosophical Hermeneutics, trans. and ed. David E. Linge, 3-4.

14 Gadamer, “Hermeneutics and Social Science,” in Cultural Hermeneutics, 314

15 M. Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology, trans. William Lovitt (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1977), 24, 25, 35.

16 Gadamer, “Hermeneutics and Social Science,” in Cultural Hermeneutics, 314. See also Truth and Method, 366

17 Gadamer, “Hermeneutics and Social Science,” 314.

18 Gadamer, “Notes on Planning for the Future,” in Hans-Georg Gadamer on Education, Poetry and History: Applied Hermeneutics, trans. Lawrence Schmidt and Monica Reuss, ed. Dieter Misgeld and Graeme Nicholson (Albany: SUNY Press, 1992), 173

19 Gadamer, “Notes on Planning for the Future,” 174.

20 See for example, Gadamer, “What is Practice?,” in Reason in the Age of Science, trans. Frederick G. Lawrence (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1981), 87.

21 Interestingly enough, one practical proposal Gadamer advances is to rediscover the Humboldtian idea of the university, where all students, from the prospective schoolteacher to the lawyer, should have some exposure to “research.” This would supposedly instill a more critical attitude among a citizenry thus educated, rendering them less manipulable by mass media and so on. See the interview “The German University and German Politics,” in Hans-Georg Gadamer on Education, Poetry and History, 8-9.