Thursday, 2 August 2012

Holism without Skepticism… Epistemic Justification

BOHMAN, J.F. (1991) Holism without Skepticism: Contexualism and the Limits of Interpretation. In: D.R. HILEY, J.F. BOHMAN, and R. SHUSTERMAN (Eds.) The Interpretive Turn. Cornell University Press. pp129-154

“The Transcendental Argument for Strong Holism
(1)    Interpretation is circular, indeterminate, and perspectival (the thesis of the ‘hermeneutic circle’)
(2)    Interpretation occurs only against a ‘background,’ a network of unspecifiable beliefs and practices (the thesis of the ‘background’)
(3)    The background is a condition for the possibility of interpretation, which limits its possibilities for epistemic justification (the thesis of contextual limits)
(4)    All cognitive activities take place against a background and are interpretive and hence circular, indeterminate, and perspectival (the thesis of the universality of interpretation). Therefore, the conditions of interpretation are such that no ‘true’ or ‘correct’ interpretations are possible (interpretive scepticism).” (pp135-136)

The argument for a holistic framing for interpretation comes in four stages. First, interpretation is circular and comes from a personal perspective of the interpreter. Therefore the interpretation is indeterminate as ‘correct.’ Secondly, interpretation can only happen within a context of a person’s socio-cultural background, informed by their own previous experiences and tacit knowledge. For such an interpretation to make sense to the individual as far as they perceive it, it is one that will be shared (to varying degrees) within a socio-cultural group. This is an epistemic justification. There is some basis to accept the individual’s interpretation as ‘correct’ as it is supported by existing ideas and concepts that infer an accepted probability that infers that the interpretation is valid. This supporting idea or concept must be accepted as being ‘true’ and not irrational, as otherwise the interpretation will be false. There needs to be justification that the supporting idea or concept that the new interpretation springs from is accepted as correct. 

No comments:

Post a Comment