Gadamer; political theory; solidarity; friendship; recognition; Arendt; Rorty


Political Science


This article makes the political dimension of Gadamer’s thought more explicit by examining the interplay of three concepts in his work: solidarity, friendship, and the other. Focusing primarily on certain post–Truth and Method writings, I argue that Gadamer’s conception of solidarity has to do with historically contingent manifestations of bonds that reflect a civic life together of reciprocal co-perception. These bonds go beyond conscious recognition of observable similarities and differences and emerge from encounters among those who are, and remain, in important ways other to each other. I make this case through an analysis of Gadamer’s phenomenology of friendship and the crucial role of otherness in his accounts of both understanding and friendship. I suggest that Gadamer’s political thought gives us a way of conceptualizing solidarity and otherness without making the other same or leaving the other completely other.


Original Citation: Walhof, Darren R. "Friendship, Otherness, and Gadamer’s Politics of Solidarity." Political Theory 34, no. 5 (2006): 569-593.