Friday, 3 August 2012

Validity in Interpretation… Validation

HIRSCH, E.D. (1967) Validity in Interpretation. New Haven: Yale University Press

“Every interpretation begins and ends as a guess, and no one has ever devised a method for making intelligent guesses. The systematic side of interpretation begins where the process of understanding ends. Understanding achieves a construction of meaning; the job of validation is to evaluate the disparate constructions which understanding has brought forward. Validation is therefore the fundamental task of interpretation as a discipline, since wherever agreement already exists there is little practical need for validation. Such a consensus may, of course, be quite temporary, since the wit of man is always devising new guesses, and his curiosity is always discovering new relevant information. A validation is achieved only with respect to known hypotheses and known facts: as soon as new relevant facts and/or guesses appear, the old conclusions may have to be abandoned in favour of new ones.” (p170)

Validation is a factor in interpretation that has yet to be raised. So the systematic process that is involved is understanding > construction of meaning > interpretation > validation, and validation is achieved “only with respect to known hypotheses and known facts” (p170). Validation leads to agreement that the interpretation is ‘correct’ until new facts or suggestions change the interpretation. Hirsch suggest that a guess to meaning begins and ends any interpretation. 

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