What About Hermeneutics?
It is long over due, I know.
On occasions I have used the term “hermeneutics“, but so far refrained from explaining what hermeneutics is, and how is it to be understood as a barebones notion. I will do that now.
Some of you may remember the very basic barebones communication diagram (below), that I posted last year. No need to change that, and I will show it here once more. See the word “hermeneutics” on the horizontal cloud in the illustration? Why it is placed there in the same section as phenomenology, and not as a separate vertical cloud similar to semiology, gestalt psychology, et cetera?
The answer to these questions are easy to give: In the barebones universe hermeneutic is not considered as a special region of the communication area, is it considered as a communication fundamental.
Using the esoteric words of philosophy, you could say that hermeneutics here have an existential or even ontological status. Don’t let yourself be scared away from this area by these words. Existential means simply: that which fundamentally comes with human existence, and ontology is simply the science of that area. If you are in for an academic career, you are welcome to obscure this to a lesser and even larger extend (irony). You’ll find indications of such obscurities when you look these words up on Wikipedia
The barebones’ stand on hermeneutics has been phrased very well by David E. Linge in his in Editor’s Introduction to Hans-Georg Gadamer‘s “Philosophical Hermeneutics”, University of California Press, 1976. Here is what he says, and you are welcome to read this as a statement that goes along perfectly with barebones communication.
“The task of philosophical hermeneutics, therefore, is ontological rather then methodological. It seeks to throw light on the fundamental conditions that underlie the phenomenon of understanding in all its modes, scientific and nonscientific alike, and that constitute understanding as an event over which the interpreting subject does not ultimately preside. For philosophical hermeneutics, “the question is not what we do or what we should do, but what happens beyond our willing and doing.” Hans-George Gadamer, Philosophical Hermeneutics, University of California Press, 1976, page ix.
To be continued …
Why is hermeneutics important?
Why is hermeneutics important? Why is it even very important? Here as some of the obvious reasons, spelled out:
1) If hermeneutics is fundamental, as we see it on barebones, it attach to every act of communication.
2) If hermeneutics attach to every act of communication, it a good idea to understand a bit of how it works.
3) If you have the idea, that you want to have a bit of control over what and how you are communicating (many people have that idea), you might want to use hermeneutics in an active way.
4) If you have the idea, that you want to understand some of the mechanisms at work at the receivers end of your message, verbal or visual or other, you may want to use hermeneutics in an active way, as well.
5) As advertising is not different from communication, but just a special branch of it, advertising people should take notice as well.
I good way of getting you there is to have a look at a new model of communication, and that will come up on this blog pretty soon. From this post on, there will be more posts on hermeneutics. I am sure that you want to know the basics of the hermeneutic circle, and the hermeneutic spiral.
So you need to stay tuned. Have a good day.