From: chris hibbert <>
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 16:11:05 -0800
Subject: Re: [e-lang] Types of Causality (was: Modelling Blindness)

Jonathan Shapiro wrote:
 > When we read papers, we seek to extract meaning. Depending on the
 > expected quality of the paper we examine the text with more or less
 > attention to detail, expecting a greater or lesser degree of
 > precision in the writing. My point in making the context statements
 > was to illustrate why greater precision should not be expected in the
 > writing this particular paper. Hermeneutics isn't likely to be
 > helpful.

I think you're misinterpreting the word "hermeneutics".   As I 
understand it hermeneutics is the branch of interpretation that is 
willing to take context into consideration.  In academic literary 
criticism ("lit crit"), anything in the text is fair game, and you can 
accuse a work of sexism or other biases based on the modern meanings of 
words that are different than the meanings that the author was familiar 
with.  In hermeneutic interpretation, different people discuss the 
meaning of a work, bringing into consideration issues like what it 
meant to readers at the time, what other works were known to the author 
and contemporaries, etc.  It's also possible to talk about what the 
work would mean to a modern reading ignorant of the history, but that 
reading is put in context, and isn't the only interpretation discussed.

You are arguing that we should take the context into account, and not 
treat the paper as if it stood on its own,  independent of the author 
and his times.  You are arguing for a hermeneutic process.

Chris shap 
C. J. Cherryh, "Invader", on why we visit very old buildings:
       "A sense of age, of profound truths.  Respect for something hands
       made, that's stood through storms and wars and time.  It
       persuades us that things we do may last and matter."

Chris Hibbert

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