Friday, 20 November 2009

Understanding and explanation

Gadamer places a premium on understanding, Habermas on explanation, while Ricoeur wants both. Ricoeur: "understanding without explanation is blind... explanation without understanding is empty." (Ricoeur, "The Conflict of Interpretations: Hans-Georg Gadamer and Paul Ricoeur," Phenomenology: Dialogues and Bridges, ed. Ronald Bruzina and Bruce Wilshire [Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1982] 307. D'Souza, DJPE 19 [2008] 177.)

Under explanation Ricoeur / Keith D'Souza include devices such as structuralism and historico-critical methods - what I have been calling 'lower blade' methods such as those taught by Henrici. (D'Souza 177)

There is a hermeneutical arc between explanation and understanding: "to explain is to bring out the structure, that is, the internal relations of dependence that constitute the statics of the text; to interpret is to follow the path of thought opened up by the text, to place oneself en route toward the orient of the text." (Ricoeur, "Discussion: Ricoeur on Narrative" 122. D'Souza 177.)

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