Monkeymagic explains Heidegger

and hermeneutics. Off to bed now because my head hurts.

  • Heidegger brings hermeneutics from a theory of interpretation to a theory of existential understanding.
  • He argued that it was impossible for an interpreter to fully empathise with an author.
  • We continually develop and refine personal rules based on experience to help them navigate the world.
  • If we didn’t , we’d have to think objectively about situations all the time and this is enough to make anyone go back to bed for a year.
  • Sadly, the more we develop these rules, and the more experience we have, the harder it is to see something objectively.

This might be a stretch, but this reminded me a lot of the mental models designers and user-researchers attribute to people in their interaction with products or services.

I’m interested in how mental-models change with experience; and whether they are cumulative and crufty over a lifetime, or ‘paradigmic’ and can be disrupted by new technologies or social norms. I suspect the latter; and I’m sure someone can fill me in…

» Monkeymagic: Hermeneutics and how to interpret – I

0 comments
  1. If I understand your question, I think you’re actually talking about politics. Hermeneutics assumes that the world is constituted by language (in the rich cultural sense of ‘discourse’, not in a simply verbal sense) and interaction. So for a collective (or individual) worldview to be altered, *others* must be involved. This may occur through persuasion, cultural shifts and gradual change; or it may occur through an eruption. Sadly Heidegger’s politics were closer to the latter (he was an enthusiastic Nazi for a few years), but there’s also a middle ground: the idea of a paradigm shift still involves considerable interaction and slow cultural movement. From my hazy memory of reading Kuhn, he seemed to think that a paradigm shift wasn’t really complete until the outdated scientists had died out, and possibly longer. It wasn’t something wreaked by nature itself.

    For me, what’s most valuable about Heidegger is that he dismisses the idea of a world without humans in it, or a human without a world around it (great for attacking green fundamentalists!). This also seems an increasingly popular way of thinking about technology and design. People like Castells and William Mitchell stress the environment-as-socially-experienced, and society-as-technologically-conditioned.

  2. Chris Ford said:

    I’d be tempted to delve into the murky (but fascinating) world of constructivist learning theory.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: