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hermeneutics

This tag is associated with 30 posts

Unclear thinking

It came upon a midnight clear. Clarity and its converse unclarity are in the air this season: as people seek clarity on what they can and cannot do during this phase of the pandemic. Clarity is about optics. Something is clear if the perception of it is unobstructed by darkness, fog, blur, glare, distortion or … Continue reading

Secret norms

“Normal” is an architectural term, according to the OED derived from the Latin noun norma which was a square of wood used by carpenters and masons for creating right angles. As known to any student of geometry, a line (or wall) is normal to another if it meets it at right angles. The term has … Continue reading

Hermeneutics and logic

Winfried Nöth’s highly useful Handbook of Semiotics has a chapter on hermeneutics. There I saw a cogent account of something I suspected all along — a statement about the similarity between Peirce’s description of abductive inference and hermeneutics (the art of interpretation as discussed by Hans-Georg Gadamer). “For [] hermeneutics, textual understanding (and human knowledge in general) … Continue reading

Cracks and flaws

I enjoy Keith Olbermann’s weekly YouTube tirades against the US presidential incumbent, who he describes as “f*cking crazy.” See The Resistance with Keith Olbermann. Crazy is what you say about old ships “Full of cracks or flaws; damaged, impaired, unsound; liable to break or fall to pieces; frail, ‘shaky’” (OED). The metaphor translates to a state … Continue reading

In bad taste

France, and some other countries, use the two-round election system. If there’s no majority vote winner from among a set of candidates then there’s a second election. It’s a playoff between the top two candidates. Binary choices are often easier to deal with, and are decisive. Of less consequence than state elections, I find it easy enough to choose … Continue reading

The well tempered intellectual

I was pleased to read Alberto Perez-Gomez’s recent book Attunement: Architectural Meaning After the Crisis of Modern Science which endorses the pivotal importance of attunement, emotion, mood and Stimmung in architecture. In fact Alberto’s book came out at the same time as my Mood and Mobility: Navigating the Emotional Spaces of Digital Social Networks, both with MIT … Continue reading

Nature as the site of hermeneutical play

Metaphors can be playful, and observers of nature commonly refer to metaphors of play: “we find talk of the play of light, the play of the waves,” and “the play of gnats” (104). This is a passing reference to play in nature by the hermeneutical philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer as he affirmed the importance and ubiquity of play. … Continue reading

The great debate debate

The European Commission is hosting debates around Europe at the moment: “Citizens’ Dialogues, in the style of town-hall debates, are taking place across the EU. Feel free to come along – it’s ‘first come, first served’!” Dialogue is good, but is debate always the best model for promoting public engagement? When I was in primary … Continue reading

The hermeneutical intractability of Asimov’s three laws of robotics

In his sci-fi detective mystery, I, Robot, Isaac Asimov writes: “Powell’s radio voice was tense in Donovan’s ear: ‘Now, look, let’s start with the three fundamental Rules of Robotics — the three rules that are built most deeply into a robot’s positronic brain.’ The rules follow. A robot may not injure a human being or, … Continue reading

Introducing hermeneutics to an architectural audience

Hermeneutics is of course simply the study of interpretation — what interpretation is, and how it works. But to study hermeneutics requires you to come to terms with the philosophies of Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Paul Ricoeur. To gain entry into hermeneutical discourse the scholar needs to come to terms with a particular collection of books and essays (a … Continue reading

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