"Interpretation in our own time, however, is even more complex. For the contemporary zeal for the project of interpretation is often prompted not by piety toward the troublesome text (which may conceal an aggression), but by an open aggressiveness, an overt contempt for appearances. The old style of interpretation was insistent, but respectful; it erected another meaning on top of the literal one. The modern style of interpretation excavates, and as it excavates, destroys; it digs 'behind' the text, to find a sub–text which is the true one. The most celebrated and influential modern doctrines, those of Marx and Freud, actually amount to elaborate systems of hermeneutics, aggressive and impious theories of interpretation. All observable phenomena are bracketed, in Freud's phrase, as manifest content. This manifest content must be probed and pushed aside to find the true meaning –the latent content –beneath. For Marx, social events like revolutions and wars; for Freud, the events of individual lives (like neurotic symptoms and slips of the tongue) as well as texts (like a dream or a work of art) –all are treated as occasions for interpretation. According to Marx and Freud, these events only seem to be intelligible. Actually, they have no meaning without interpretation. To understand is to interpret. And to interpret is to restate the phenomenon, in effect to find an equivalent for it.
Thus, interpretation is not (as most people assume) an absolute value, a gesture of mind situated in some timeless realm of capabilities. Interpretation must itself be evaluated, within a historical view of human consciousness. In some cultural contexts, interpretation is a liberating act. It is a means of revising, of transvaluing, of escaping the dead past. In other cultural contexts, it is reactionary, impertinent, cowardly, stifling."
(Susan Sontag, 1966)
Susan Sontag (1966). "Against Interpretation: And Other Essays". Farrar, Strauss & Giroux.
"Hermeneutic theory is a member of the social subjectivist paradigm where meaning is inter–subjectively created, in contrast to the empirical universe of assumed scientific realism (Berthon et al. 2002). Other approaches within this paradigm are social phenomenology and ethnography. As part of the interpretative research family, hermeneutics focuses on the significance that an aspect of reality takes on for the people under study. Hermeneutics focuses on defining shared linguistic meaning for a representation or symbol.
In order to reach shared understanding as proposed in hermeneutic theory, subjects must have access to shared linguistic and interpretative resources (Marshall et al. 2001). However, hermeneutic theory also posits that linguistic meaning is likely open to infinite interpretation and reinterpretation due to the interpretative ambiguity coming from presuppositions, to the conditions of usage different from authorial intention, and to the evolution of words (Marshall et al. 2001).
Due to its interpretive nature, hermeneutics cannot be approached using a pre–determined set of criteria that is applied in a mechanical fashion (Klein et al. 1999). However, a meta–principal [sic], known as the hermeneutic circle, guides the hermeneutic approach where the process of understanding moves from parts of a whole to a global understanding of the whole and back to individual parts in an iterative manner (Klein et al. 1999). This meta–principal allows the development of a complex whole of shared meanings between subjects, or between researchers and their subjects (Klein et al. 1999).
Other co–existing principles that may help assure rigorous interpretive analysis involve: a) understanding the subject according to its social and historical context, b) assessing the historical social construction between the researcher and the subject, c) relating ideographic details to general theoretical concepts through abstraction and generalization, d) being sensitive to potential pre–conceptual theoretical contradictions between research design and actual findings, e) being aware of possible multiple interpretations among participants for a given sequence of events, and f) being conscious of potential biases or systematic distortions in the subject's narratives (Klein et al. 1999)."
(IS Theory, 15 November 2011, Information Systems PhD Preparation Program of the Marriott School of Management of Brigham Young University)
"This episode features Alvin Toffler. He is an American writer and futurist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communications revolution, corporate revolution and technological singularity. A former associate editor of Fortune magazine, his early work focused on technology and its impact (through effects like information overload). Then he moved to examining the reaction of and changes in society. His later focus has been on the increasing power of 21st century military hardware, weapons and technology proliferation, and capitalism"
(Sciencedump, submitted by Jur on 30 October 2010)
Halperin, J. (2002). "Alvin Toffler – Futurist". Big Thinkers. USA, TechTV: 22 minutes [The Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0250841/fullcredits#cast].
"In the 1960's and 70's, the advent of computers not only reinforced this notion of man as a rational animal, it also led many people to predict that we would soon have machines that could think and act just like human beings. In 1972, however, Hubert Dreyfus's seminal and controversial book What Computers Can't Do anticipated the failure of what came to be known as 'artificial intelligence'.
In the book, Dreyfus explains that human beings are not at all like computers. We do not apply abstract, context–free rules to compute how to act when we engage in skilled behavior. Instead, Dreyfus argued, the fundamental thing about humans is that we are embodied beings living in a shared world of social practices and equipment. In the end, it is our skillful mastery and our shared practices that not only distinguish us from machines but allow us to assume meaningful identities."
(Tao Ruspoli, 2010)
"Published in 1972 and based on a BBC television programme of the same name, this is a very influential text on art criticism. Although the book and programme make the same case, they do so in slightly different ways, and the programme is well worth watching. For the photographer, the book has the advantage of putting photography in the context of western art. For the student new to critical theory, it has the advantage of being produced for a mass audience, and has as a central aim the de–mystification of art. These two points make it relatively easy to understand. A further advantage this book has is that many students have not had the opportunity to study photography, but have studied art, and so the book presents a logical progression for them when they start to study photography.
The television programme is divided into four sections and although the book is divided into seven chapters (three being made up solely of images), the book also covers four areas."
(John Berger, 1990)
John Berger (1990). 'Ways of Seeing: Based on the BBC Television Series', Penguin