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Auslegung as the Ausarbetung of Verstehen

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Introduction

AUSLEGUNG AS THE AUSARBETUNG OF VERSTEHEN Alvin Aguilar Sario October 05, 2003 Hermeneutics comes from the Greek word hermeneuein meaning to interpret and its derivative hermeneia meaning interpretation. It has an obvious relation to Hermes, the messenger god of the Greeks. As the master of the language of the gods, he has to translate and explicate the messages of the Olympian gods to the mortals. To describe the various tasks of Hermes, the mortals have a whole set of forms such as linguistics, discourse, interpretation, and understanding. Today, the term hermeneutics denotes concern about the theoria, methode, and praxis, of such fields of knowledge as philosophy, theology, jurisprudence, literature, history, sociology, psychology, and the humanities in general. It is but fair to state that hermeneutics which is simply a German continental affair now becomes a specific discipline of the social and human sciences popular in the whole world. The main task of hermeneutics is to arrive at an understanding of a text through specific methodologies using various theories to explicate truth. The problem is how to arrive at verstehen. What is the nature and goal of verstehen, for example. How do we interpret it? What are its multiple layers and concerns? How do we untangle these multiple layers? ...read more.

Middle

They constitute erlebnis (lived experience). A "life-expression" points back at a "lived experience" as its source and we understand its ausdruck (expressed meaning i.e. gesture, voice, movement, rhythmic patterns, visual forms, verbal expressions, actions, attitudes) in the form of a "lived experience" again. Verstehen becomes explication due to ausdruck. Dilthey maintained that hermeneutics is both the science and art of verstehen and auslegung. To understand is to interpret. Martin Heidegger provided the ontological foundation of hermeneutics. According to him, human existence possesses an ontological priority with respect to the question of Being. Because of an intrinsic human concern with Being, the investigation and analysis of human existence in relation to Being necessarily involves interpretation. The problem of Being is the interpretation of Being. Man interprets Being in terms of his projects in relation to the world. Dasein (thrown there-being) always projects itself in an act of understanding towards self-realization which is the unfolding or explication of such understanding. Consequently, auslegung originates in verstehen and is always derived from it. Heidegger insists that all forms of interpretation in real life and in the human sciences are grounded in understanding and are nothing but the explication of what has already been understood. Thus, interpretation occurs only within a given horizon of preunderstanding. ...read more.

Conclusion

This means that in order for us to understand, we need to interpret texts and text-analogues. It is through interpreting that we come to understand. The auslegung gives criteria in order for a text to be understood. This does not mean that auslegung is not verstehen. But to understand verstehen is to interpret it. To provide auslegung for verstehen requires strict hermeneutik. It calls for methodologies and theories to explain such. Schleiermacher and Dilthey introduced the idea that the process of interpretation has to emanate from the subject-interpreter through the text via the historical-cultural circumstances to arrive at the original intention of the author. Heidegger and Gadamer believed that such process of interpretation is circular, that is, a continuous dialogue between the subject-interpreter and text, until horizontverschmelzung is reached. However, Gadamer would later tell us that there is no methode that would capture warheit. There is no method that would actually explain the truth behind verstehen. This means that auslegung as the main expression of verstehen happens in the context of game and idea of flow. The actual experience of hermeneutic process of verstehen and auslegung in our everyday life seems to be the measure of their relation. It is the praxis of hermeneutik that would define for us the connection of the two concepts. Regardless of theoria or methode used in this hermeneutik, auslegung and verstehen are out there active in every hermeneutik act. ...read more.

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