Progress as an Evolution or Revolution: the Role of Tradition and Authority in Society

Mate Penava, Zoran Pervan, Dražen Barbarić


The concept of knowledge has a long history inside philosophical tradition, but it was particularly emphasized during the Enlightenment. Knowledge and reason were highlighted as being the only waymarks men needed. To emphasize the concept of knowledge, Enlightenment thinkers had contrasted it with concepts of authority and tradition. According to them, these concepts include non-critical and unexamined acceptance of worldviews, which is incommensurable with the concept of man, who needs to think critically about reality and adopt only those views, which are based on critical insight and not on tradition or authority. Hans Georg Gadamer gave a harsh criticism of this view of Enlightenment thinkers, stating that knowledge and authority are not exclusive concepts as authority is gained through knowledge, i.e. through realization that someone has a superior level of knowledge, and not through blind obedience. Gadamer also emphasized that knowledge is not possible without some pre-knowledge or pre-judgments (prejudices) which serve as a foundation for any knowledge.


nowledge; authority; tradition; Gadamer; Habermas; Enlightenment;

Full Text:



Bristow, William (2010), „Englightenment“, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (20. VIII. 2010.),, (4. VI. 2017.).

Di Cesare, Donatella (2011), Gadamer, Demetra, Zagreb.

Gadamer, Hans Georg (1976), „On the scope and function of hermeneutical reflection“, Gadamer, Hans Georg, Philosophical hermeneutics, Linge, David E. (prev. i ur.), UCLA Press, Berkeley; Los Angeles; London.

Gadamer, Hans Georg (2002), „Klasična i filozofska hermeneutika‟, Gadamer, Hans Georg, Čitanka, Grondin, Jean (prir.), Matica hrvatska, Zagreb.

Gadamer, Hans Georg (2004), Truth and method, 2. izdanje, Weinsheimer, Joel – Donald G. Marshall, (prev.), Continuum, London; New York.

Grondin, Jean (1999), Smisao za hermeneutiku, Matica hrvatska, Zagreb.

Habermas, Jürgen (1988), On the logic of the social sciences, Weber Nicholsen, Shierry – Stark, Jerry A. (prev.), MIT Press, Cambridge.

Habermas, Jürgen (1990), The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, Polity Press, Cambridge.

Kant, Immanuel (2006), „An Answer to the Question: What Is Enlightenment?“, Toward Perpetual Peace and Other Writings on Politics, Peace and History, Colclasure, David L. (prev.), Yale University press, New Haven; London, 17 – 24.

Mendelson, Jack (1979). „The Habermas-Gadamer debate“, New German Critique, 18, 44 – 73.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN: 2490-3604 (print) ● ISSN: 2490-3647 (online)

Društvene i humanističke studije - DHS is under the Creative Commons licence.