HERMENEUTICS (Richard E. Palmer)
Interpretation Theory in Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, and Gadamer
—a book by Richard E. Palmer (Evanston: Nortwestern UP, 1969)
PART I: ON THE DEFINITION, SCOPE, AND SIGNIFICANCE OF HERMENEUTICS
3- The ’New Hermeneutic’ is the dominant movement in Protestant theology in Europe (with Gerhard Ebeling). For Heidegger, philosophy should be ’hermeneutical’.
4- Hirsch proposes hermeneutics as a foundation for all literary interpretation. Palmer will provide here a general introduction to hermeneutics with a view to contribute to literary interpretation. Webster’s definition: hermeneutics is "the study of the methodological principles of interpretation and exploration; specif.: the study of the general principles of biblical interpretation").
5- Palmer favours a phenomenological approach to interpretation.
Some Consequences of Common-Sense Objectivity in American Literary Criticism.
Suffering from naive realism, it thinks of the work as separate from one’s perception or from the author’s intention, as a ’being’ in itself. "The preliminary separation of subject and object, so axiomatic in realism, becomes the philosophical foundation and framework for literary interpretation."
6- This may be fruitful but is questionable under phenomenological assumptions. Modern literary criticism imitates the scientist’s approach; analysis and interpretation become synonymous [for the New Criticism - JAGL]. They denounce the affective fallacy and promote a technological approach to interpretation,
7- —but these promote the indifference to literature bewailed by the same critics. Cf. Merleau-Ponty’s observation: "Science manipulates things and gives up living in them." Palmer: "Dialogue, not dissection, opens up the world of a literary work. Disinterested objectivity is not appropriate to the understanding of a literary work." We should see works as "humanly created texts which speak"; Palmer opposes Frye’s ’anatomies’ and advocates "a humanistic understanding of what interpretation of a work involves."
Literary Interpretation, Hermeneutics, and the Interpretation of Works
The work is not simply an "object". It is the work of a man or of God, and as such it needs to be seen as meaningful. "This ’deciphering’ process, this ’understanding’ the meaning of a work,
8- is the focus of hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is the study of understanding, especially the task of understanding texts." It is a humanistic and historical mode of understanding, beyond the (necessary) treatment of the work as object. Hermeneutics is not a set of devices, but an attention to (1) understanding a text, (2) the nature of understanding and interpretation. These are interacting foci in hermeneutics.
9- Existing is a constant process of interpretation. Interpretation exceeds linguistic interpretation; it is the basis of human interaction, more basic than language (although language is an essential element in human communication). Palmer favours a complex concept of interpretation in criticism. The work should be seen as a voice, not as an object—hearing it.
10- "understanding is both an epistemological and an ontological phenomenon"; understanding a work of literature is "an historical encounter which calls forth personal experience of being here in the world." "As a German current of thought, hermeneutics came to be profoundly influenced by German phenomenology and existential philosophy." Hermeneutics transcends disciplines: it is fundamental, more than interdisciplinary. And it clarifies the nature and the task of the humanities.
2. HERMENEUEIN AND HERMENEIA: THE MODERN SIGNIFICANCE OF THEIR ANCIENT USAGE — Read more here.
"Notes on Richard E. Palmer’s Hermeneutics: Interpretation Theory in Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger and Gadamer." Academia.edu 15 Nov. 2014.*