Episetemology vs hermeneutics

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Frederick phil
Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2008 08:07 pm
As I said, I'm new to all of this. But, I have the impression that in hermeneutics, justification has more to do with the cohesiveness of the story, i.e, the hermeneutic circle. That is, one could invent a story in which an interpretation was considered to be justified based upon the plot and characters. There is no reference to the external world. Epistemology absolutely concerns itself with the outside world. I know I'm drastically oversimplifying these concepts but do so in order to present my level of misunderstanding and need for more information. Thanks.
Reply Tue 15 Apr, 2008 11:56 am
@Frederick phil,
A hermenutic narrative is the default during introspection. The characters, setting, timeline, and plot are unavoidable. I suppose it really would be abnormal not to include the self in any experience.
Reply Tue 15 Apr, 2008 04:31 pm
I would say that "hermeneutics is a possible object of consideration within epistemology." (among other styles of thought such as logic, intuition, symbolic recombination, metaphoric inheritance, mathematics, science etc)

Epistemology being merely the study of how we know, what we do and can know, and to what degree of accuracy, and evaluation of various methods of gaining new knowledge.
As for the utility of epistemology in therapeutic psychology that is a very interesting question!

In my experience with therapy (receiving) and counseling (giving and receiving) epistemological accounts often come into the discussion but usually only indirectly.
Reply Tue 15 Apr, 2008 04:41 pm
@Frederick phil,
I would be interested to read a discussion about the application of epistemological devices in therapy.
Reply Thu 17 Apr, 2008 02:59 am
@Frederick phil,
"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 mediation anyway?)

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? Wink
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2008 03:42 pm
@Frederick phil,
This is something I've been pressing; that we interpret what our perception tells us, we 'know' nothing, we can simply believe in fact.

Some people say that one 'knows' that 1=1, yet we can never absolutely 'know' for the simple reason that our perception and languages deviate from reality, so you do not 'know' in any absolute sense that the formula you are reading or thinking is definately 1=1.

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