Death’s Doorstep: A comparative analysis on the notion of death in Heidegger and Gadamer
Toom, A.D. den
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Contrary to his former teacher Heidegger, Gadamer has not formulated an extensive and unified notion of death. His articulation of the subject must be reconstructed from short essays he has written throughout his lifetime. This has caused Gadamer’s view on death to contain some ambiguity. I will attempt to provide insight into Gadamer’s account on death by comparing his writings to Heidegger’s notion of death as presented in Being and Time. Gadamer’s philosophy has been highly influenced by Heidegger. Therefore, it is to be expected that there is some degree of compatibility between the two notions of death. I will argue that because of its fragmented character, Gadamer’s notion of death is very much susceptible to interpretation. Donatella Di Cesare offers one such interpretation by reconstructing Gadamer’s view via his texts on death as well as his other fundamental philosophical positions. I will provide an account of Gadamer’s notion of death solely on the basis of his specific texts on the subject and argue why Heidegger’s and Gadamer’s views on death might me more compatible than is suggested by Di Cesare. Using an isolated version of Gadamer’s conception of death will reveal the degree of susceptibility to interpretation of this notion and therefore also the obstacles in acquiring clear insight into Gadamer’s view on death.