Pretended antinomy of historical experience: To the G.-G. Gadamer and F.R. Ankersmit interpretations of the historical experience concept





hermeneutics, narrativism, philosophy of history, sublime historical experience, historiography, identity, Gadamer, Ankersmit


The article is devoted to the analysis of the phenomenon of historical experience in Gadamer's hermeneutics and Ankersmit's philosophical-historical concept. The interest of the philosophy of history in experience was actualized against the background of exhaustion of the heuristic potential of historical narrativism and constructivism, closely related to the so-called "linguistic turn". At first glance, Gadamer and Ankersmit are representing antinomic interpretations of historical experience: as mediated by the effects of involvement in a tradition or heritage and direct, extracontextual encounter with the past. However, the investigation proves that, despite the apparent antinomy of these approaches, the Gadamerian hermeneutic experience as an experience of the prevailing historical reality is not so far from the sublime historical experience of Ankersmit. And, on the contrary, the sublime historical experience, despite its claims to immediacy, turns out to be an experience of the finitude of human existence, that is, it is close to what Gadamer considered the essence of hermeneutic experience. In both cases, historical experience is considered as a condition for the possibility of understanding the past, and therefore, the question of the universal structure of such experience and understanding necessarily arises. The differences in the positions of the two authors stem from fundamentally different ontological prejudices that they share. For Gadamer, this is the reduction of history to a linguistically structured heritage, as a result of which most of the past falls out of hermeneutic experience. For Ankersmit, this is an uncritical understanding of time, as a result of which his concept of the sublime does not receive a reliable methodological foundation. Clarification of the temporality of the sublime historical, as well as rejection of the rigid connection between historical experience and language, open the prospect of removing the abstract antinomy of contextuality and immediacy of historical experience. The temporality of human existence turns out to be a universal prerequisite of historical experience, the two opposite forms of which are heredity and discontinuity. Contrary to the widespread criticism of Ankersmit's theory as far from historiographical practice, the development of the potential of the concept of sublime historical experience reveals its relevance to the dynamic and tragic modern history that Ukraine is currently experiencing.

Author Biography


Candidate of Sciences in Philosophy, Research Fellow at the Department of Philosophy of Culture, Ethics and Aesthetics, H.S. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 4, Triokhsviatytelska St., Kyiv, 01001


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How to Cite

ZYMOVETS, R. (2024). Pretended antinomy of historical experience: To the G.-G. Gadamer and F.R. Ankersmit interpretations of the historical experience concept: PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY. Filosofska Dumka, (1), 71–95.



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