Gadamer on Romanticism’s Mirror Image of the Enlightenment
According to Gadamer, romanticism shares a certain schema of the philosophy of history with the Enlightenment. In its reaction to the Enlightenment, romanticism takes this schema as a premise, viz., “the schema of the conquest of mythos by logos.” Gadamer goes on to say, “[w]hat gives this schema its validity is the presupposition of the progressive retreat of magic in the world. It is supposed to represent progress in the history of the mind, and precisely because romanticism disparages this development, it takes over the schema itself as a self-evident truth. It shares the presupposition of the Enlightenment and only reverses its values, seeking to establish the validity of what is old simply on the fact that it is old […] the romantic reversal of the Enlightenment’s criteria of value actually perpetuates the abstract contrast between myth and reason. All criticism of the Enlightenment now proceeds via this romantic mirror image of the Enlightenment. Belief in the perfectibility of reason suddenly changes into the perfection of the ‘mythical’ consciousness and finds itself reflected in a paradisiacal state before the ‘fall’ of thought” (Truth and Method, pp. 274-275).