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Interpretation

Ways of Thinking about the Sciences and the Arts

Peter Machamer, Gereon Wolters

Publication Year: 2010

The act of interpretation occurs in nearly every area of the arts and sciences. That ubiquity serves as the inspiration for the fourteen essays of this volume, covering many of the domains in which interpretive practices are found. Individual topics include: the general nature of interpretation and its forms; comparing and contrasting interpretation and hermeneutics; culture as interpretation seen through Hegel's aesthetics; interpreting philosophical texts; methodologies for interpreting human action; interpretation in medical practice focusing on manifestations as indicators of disease; the brain and its interpretative, structured, learning and storage processes; interpreting hybrid wines and cognitive preconceptions of novel objects; and the importance of sensory perception as means of interpreting in the case of dry German Rieslings. In an interesting turn, Nicholas Rescher writes on the interpretation of philosophical texts. Then Catherine Wilson and Andreas Blank explicate and critique Rescher's theories through analysis of the mill passage from Leibniz's Monadology.

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press

Front Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Preface

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pp. vii-viii

Interpretation is an activity that cuts across the arts and sciences. Its ubiquity served as the motivation for making this colloquium all about interpretation. We sought to cover many aspects and domains in which interpretive practices were found. So the essays collected here deal with the general nature of interpretation...

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1. Some Cogitations on Interpretations

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pp. 1-15

Interpreting "things" is an activity that people (and maybe some animals) engage in. Sometimes we call this activity of interpreting trying to understand or trying to make sense of something. In some sophisticated circles, interpretation is called the search for meaning. What results from interpreting is an interpretation...

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2. The Logic of Interpretation

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pp. 16-30

It is traditionally held that interpretation is the method of the humanities, while explanation is the method of the sciences. At the same time, it is widely accepted that interpretation is an all-embracing activity and thus all cognitions are modes of interpretation...

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3. Interpretation as Cultural Orientation: Remarks on Hegel's Aesthetic

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pp. 31-43

If we treat the question of to what extent art can be an interpretation of our world, self-concept, and historical forms of life by referring to Hegel, it seems that we come to a dead end. The authoritative and original place for a connection between art and interpretation...

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4. Hermeneutics and Epistemology: A Second Appraisal—Heidegger, Kant, and Truth

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pp. 44-65

Generally, we use the term hermeneutics to refer to both the art of interpretation and the general theory of understanding and interpretation. In this second meaning...

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5. Davidson and Gadamer on Plato's Dialectical Ethics

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pp. 66-90

Over the past twenty years, there has been an increasing interest in the relation between Donald Davidson's theory of radical interpretation and Hans-Georg Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics. Whereas some of this interest has been geared toward the intellectual horizon and heritage...

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6. The Interpretation of Philosophical Texts

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pp. 91-99

It should be made clear from the outset that when one speaks of interpreting a philosophical text in the setting of the present discussion it is specifically an exegetical interpretation that is at issue-an elucidation of what it maintains, a clarification of its claims and contentions...

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7. The Explanation of Consciousness and the Interpretation of Philosophical Texts

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pp. 100-110

Let me begin by recapitulating Nicholas Rescher's theory of historical interpretation as he presents it in his valuable and thought-provoking summary, "The Interpretation of Philosophical Texts...

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8. On Interpreting Leibniz's Mill

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pp. 111-129

In "The Interpretation of Philosophical Texts," Nicholas Rescher outlines a coherentist theory of textual interpretation. At the heart of his theory lies an idea that he calls the "Principle of Normativity," according to which "the better (the more smoothly and coherently) an interpretation fits a text into its wider context...

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9. How to Interpret Human Actions (Including Moral Actions)

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pp. 130-157

In this article an instrumentalist conception of action interpretation will be developed. This conception shall be suitable for interpreting moral actions as well as other actions. The approach's instrumentalism consists in the fact that interpretations here are conceived...

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10. Interpretive Practices in Medicine

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pp. 158-178

This article develops some examples of interpretation in medical practice. I begin with medical data, but need to first provide some definitions to pave the way for more explicit development. Some of these defined terms have nontechnical meanings...

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11. Interpreting Medicine: Forms of Knowledge and Ways of Doing in Clinical Practice

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pp. 179-202

Ars longa vita brevis-Hippocrates' famous aphorism once acquired a surprising new meaning in the hands of a freshman at the University of Heidelberg's Medical School...

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12. Concept Formation via Hebbian Learning: The Special Case of Prototypical Causal Sequences

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pp. 203-219

How does the brain manage to generate roughly accurate maps of the universe's four-dimensional background structure? What is the process by which such abstract maps of possible-causal-processes are actually constructed...

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13. Interpreting Novel Objects: The Difficult Case of Hybrid Wines

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pp. 220-233

Russ Hanson famously said, "All seeing is seeing as." While Hanson's focus was upon the interaction between scientific theories and their corresponding observations...

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14. Classifying Dry German Riesling Wines: An Experiment toward Statistical Wine Interpretation

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pp. 234-260

Reflection on olfactory and gustatory perceptions and their epistemological status has not been playing a major role in the philosophical tradition. Most classical philosophers deal with the senses of smell and taste rather parenthetically and with a sense of flippancy...

Index

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pp. 261-266


E-ISBN-13: 9780822977568
E-ISBN-10: 0822977567
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822943921
Print-ISBN-10: 0822943921

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Pittsburgh-Konstanz Series in the Philosophy and History of Science

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Subject Headings

  • Science -- Philosophy -- Congresses.
  • Interpretation (Philosophy) -- Congresses.
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