Tuesday, January 29, 2008

There is really no overcoming one's fascination with particulars.

[Hermeneutics] is not a method or system or theory or any position to be defended or advanced but exactly a context of argument about understanding -- a context whose boundaries are determined not by conceptual traditions, much less by school disciplines, but by the thing itself, that is, by the question of what it is that happens (what the practical consequences are) when we try to make sense of something. What sense this question will have for us, however, is determined by how we frame it, and there are multiple, intersecting, and conflicting frames. Hermeneutics, as I understand it, is this whole network of lines and angles on the question of verstehen.* There is no getting outside of this network and giving a comprehensive view of it, which is one reason why it is not easy to give a conceptually coherent account of what hermeneutics is.

-- Gerald L. Bruns, Hermeneutics Ancient & Modern --

That, too, is what my understanding of rhetoric, as this department has taught me, is: a thorough inhabitation of, not simply engagement with, an argument. And, you know, knowing how to act accordingly. This applies to everything, not just reading texts, like living life. Should be a good seminar. (The title of this post comes from somewhere near the end of the introduction to Bruns' book, and the quote from somewhere earlier in the introduction.)


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