"Tranference" is very much like metaphor, in which the meaning of one term or idea is transfered to another term or idea. (Metaphor in fact means transference in the Greek.) Many thinkers argue that the images in our mind manifest a deeper significance, even as they conceal that significance. Indeed, it would seem that any medium--metaphorical or not, linguistic or not--must by necessity distort, and hence in part conceal, that which it mediates. We rarely if ever get the thing in itself. If an image in my mind represents more than itself--i.e., if it is overdetermined by being not only a sign in and of itself, but also a signifier
of other hidden signifieds, and hence two or more signs at once--it is a kind of metaphor, a connotation.
Can we ever know
that which is connoted only? If by the term "know" we mean "perceive directly," then perhaps not. (Of course, what does it mean to say that one perceives something directly?)
I've always marvelled at the human voice, which seems to radiate the very personality
of the individual I am talking to. Yet this voice is merely a vibration of sinews, and thus bears only an incidental
connection to the personality that it mediates. A person doesn't "sound" like anything. But we have grown so accustomed to the medium of vocal vibrations that we take that medium for the thing which it mediates--we confound two incompatible things. (And what is
But to answer your question more directly, I do think that interpretation (hermeneutics) and knowledge (epistemology) are inseparable. If we argue that X means Y, we must prove that we know
that X means Y, either to ourselves or to others. How, for example, does one know
that Freud's interpretation of Aeschylus is accurate? How do you know
what I am saying to you in this post?
And most importantly, how do you know
what it is that you are thinking at this very instant?