Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Hermeneutics: Interpretation Theory… Understanding Unnderstanding

PALMER, R.E. (1969) Hermeneutics: Interpretation Theory in Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, and Gadamer. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.

“Understanding is not a tool for something else – like consciousness – but rather the medium in which and through which one exists. It can never be objectified, for it is within understanding that all objectification takes place. An existing human being cannot survey understanding from without; understanding is always the position from which all that is seen is seen. No understanding, just because it stands under everything, is not an empty and amorphous mass, a flickering translucence totally filled with the sensations of the present moment. On the contrary, understanding is always necessarily ‘in terms of’ the character of the seeing that is handed down, of our understanding of the present situation, and of a sense what the future can or will hold. Thus this ground upon which we stand in understanding has a fairly definite topography, and every act of interpretation stands within its horizon.” (p228)

All objectification is contained within understanding, so understanding in itself can never be objectified. It is an internal process within the individual. The pre-understanding of the individual and the horizonality of the context in which the individual is experiencing a need for understanding, are important as these dictate the terms in which any understanding arises.

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