What is interpretation?

What is interpretation?

Below is a great quote from Joel Weinsheimer, who reflects on the hermeneutic theory of the great German philosopher, Hans-Georg Gadamer. I did my PhD on Gadamer’s hermeneutics, and if you’re at all interested in the subject of interpretation, you’ll need to read his important work Truth and Method.

In the meantime, enjoy this fun quote:

“Sameness and difference are indivisible in Gadamer’s hermeneutics, and neither can be suppressed if interpretation is to be made intelligible. An interpretation that is not the same as what it interprets is not an interpretation but a new creation; an interpretation that is not different from what it interprets is not an interpretation but a copy. What distinguishes Gadamer’s hermeneutics in this regard is that for him interpretation involves this interminable interplay between sameness and difference, the irreducible methexis of the one and the many.”

Joel Weinsheimer, “Meaningless Hermeneutics?” in Gadamer’s Repercussions: Reconsidering Philosophical Hermeneutics, ed. Bruce Krajewski (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), 165.

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