Karl R. Popper who has very vigoroushy championed for the case of scientistics in the modern world and who has articulated his views through numerous publications, is critical even of recent developments in hermeneutics. He postulates a World 3 in addition to World 1 and World 2, where the World 1 consists of the physical elements, World 2 the psychological elements and World 3 the World of ideas, arguments, plans, theories and so forth. He claims that the activity of understanding consists essentially operating with the third-world objects and is essentially done by problem solving maneuvers. He gives the following schema as a general way ofunderstanding what scientistic approach is:
A: P1 ----> TT----> EE----> P 2?
This is an evolutionary model of scientific thinking and
its development. First of all P1 is the problem
that we start an investigation with and TT is the
'Tentative theory, - the imaginary, conjectural hypothetical
solution that is proposed. EE
(Error Elimination) consists of a severe critical examination of our tentative theories with the use of data, documents, statistical analysis, testing varying alternatives and so forth. And as a result of such critical reflections, we have a new understanding of the problem i.e. P 2 and the cycle repeats now. The important point in Popper's view of what science is , emerges in the emphasize he gives to the notion of refutation or criticism. A Conjecture must allow for refutation for it to be a scientific kind of conjecture.
In this view understanding a certain issue is akin to solving a problem and it is simultaneously evolutionary for having solved a problem, there emerges now another problem possibly more complex and deeper than the initial. Thus scientistic understanding grows like a tree, developing many branches, sub-branches and so forth in an endless manner.(Popper 1972, PP.153-190).
Another notion equally important for understanding what science is, is related to the notion of 'Scientific explanation'. A penetrative analysis and description of the beauties of a piece of artwork is not scientific explanation - in fact nothing is explained at all in such verbal productions. Such a person simply articulates his own perceptions, reactions, responses and so forth and not bothered at all about explaining how the work of art came to be, what cognitive processes went into the making of it and what evidences are there for such claims and so forth. Here we do not have a scientific aim for as Popper says "the aim of science (is) to find satisfactory explanation, of whatever strikes us a being in need of explanation. By an explanation (or a causal explanation) is meant a set of statements by which one describes the states of affairs to be explained (the explicandum) while the others, the explanatory statements form the 'explanation in the narrowest sense of the word (the explicans of the explicandum) (Popper 1972, P 191-his italics). Thus combining these two notions we see what 'science' means: Seeing a problem P1, describing it as clearly as possible (the explicandum, the problem situation that are normally states of affairs in the world ), coming up with conjectures, testing them against evidences that are procurable, critically examining them and rejecting those that do not fit and in the face of those that stand irrefutable, explain in a causal manner the problem one started off with and on the basis of the deeper insight into the problem now, generate another problem perhaps more complex than the initial.
Such a view of science is reasonably well known and thereforeI shall
not go into the details. What I want to do now is to challenge this notion
of science and the companion claim that this is what human RATIONALITY
2.0. The Essence of Hermeneutic Science.
Hermeneutic Science distinguishes
itself from the scientistics such as that of Popper and at the same
time stands eminently rational and objective as it allows for agreement
disagreement between different individuals. Also it does not seek causal explanations at all i.e. does not operate with the notions of explicandum and explicans. It investigates a phenomena, seeks to understand it in an illuminating manner and in that avoids seeking out causal explanations. What it succeeds however is to disclose the structure of the phenomena so that now one sees more clearly and also begin to see probably for the first time, things in the phenomena itself that were initially accessed only dimly or not at all. The phenomena lights up so to speak and hermeneutic science is that intellectual activity that does this lighting up. And an investigator having thus lighted up the phenomena for himself articulates this improved understanding of his through generating a meta-discourse so that another person can have the same new and considerably better informed understanding as his that he now possesses. Thus the new understanding gained becomes something another can agree or disagree with. Where agreement is reached, it can be assumed the understanding articulated through the metadiscourse is objective.
The possibility of different individuals coming to an agreement about
the structural features of a phenomena ensures that unlike
artistic appreciation, metadiscourses are not idiosyncratic but rather
Such an activity where there are no conjectures followed
by testing and so forth, nevertheless is objective and hence
an expression of human rationality as much as scientistics. The metadiscourses
that are generated are products of reflective and immensely analytical
thinking and as such are also distinct from fascinating and detailed
appreciative and hence experiential accounts.
We shall now introduce some technical terms and illustrate them with suitable examples.
First of all we have to clarify the notion of objects of
investigations, what we procure and examine. What hermeneutic science
(or sciences) investigates are TEXTS. By texts we mean
the various kinds of productions that in fact occur in natural
existence. Conversations between two individuals, the
interactions that take place in the classroom, in the courthouse, police
station, the market place and so forth; the exercises
that are done by the children, the mathematics problems they solve
(or fail to solve), the essays they write, the drawings they
produce,the models they build and so forth, the activities
they indulge in either individually or in groups, their habits in
dressing, in speaking and what not. In short everything that
is produced and hence become an element of the objective world is a TEXT.
Through such texts, because they are productions of human
beings, they are actually exteriorizing something of
themselves through them. And by analyzing such TEXTS in an appropriate manner we can get an understanding of the person as he is, as an individual with such and such competencies at his disposal and so forth. In looking at the objects of investigations as TEXTS i.e. things that can tell something about the person who produces it provided we learn to read it
appropriately, we are avoiding the dominant tendency in scientistics to interpret what is observed in terms of a presupposed model and thereby introducing a reductionism of some kind into the investigation. All theories are kinds of models and when understanding is dominated by a model, a partial blindness is introduced into what is seen and thereby some kind of reductionism.Behaviorism in psychology is a good example. The paradigm of conditioning whether operant or classical blinds us to the co-operative dimension of human interactive behaviour and many socio-psychological structures that are unavoidably present in any social interaction. Thus the hermeneutic science emphasizes the need to be OPEN to the phenomena, be prepared to see it as it is, as it discloses itself from within itself as Heidegger would put it (Heidegger, 1962 pp 49-63). This non- theoretical, non-modellic openness to receive the productions i.e. the texts as they are in themselves is what we understand by phenomenology. Thus Hermeneutic science is phenomenological in its attitude towards its objects of investigations. Within this attitude what it takes up for investigation are TEXTS. The phenomenological attitude is a MODE OF BEING that any Hermeneutic Scientist must assume in order not to do violence to the notion of OBJECTIVITY and OPENNESS, the primordial orientation that secures rationality for its endeavor. The texts thus identified, because they are free from the manipulative interventions of the investigator-only made possible because of the phenomenological attitude-holds the possibility of truly disclosing what the person is or the child is. We can access the person as he is himself through the texts that he produces out of himself free from the manipulations of the investigator.
A cautionary note is
necessary here. The concept of texts as elements that are to be investigated
in hermeneutic science does not include stimulated productions.
After all the so called naturally and spontaneously produced
texts are contextually conditioned. For example the exercises done
by a child or the artistic productions effected under the instructions
teacher are somewhat stimulated by creating appropriate contextual pressures that would oblige the child to produce such things. Creating such contextual pressures that are not perhaps
natural may be necessary for certain types of investigations e.g. Piagetian type of investigations into the stages of cognitive development of children. But such productions that are minimally directive are to be distinguished, from experimental situations where the subjects are so restricted that they can respond only with a yes or no and react pressing buttons and so forth. Such highly restrictive structuring of the contextual situations are designed to avoid precisely the texts that are the basic objects for hermeneutic science. They are so restrictive that meaningful texts are not produced. So in short, the primary objects that are studied in hermeneutic science are productions that are texts and as long as creating contextual situations that do not by designprevent the productions of texts as such, the possibility of hermeneutic science is not jeopardized.
Now the second important structure or principle of hermeneutic science concerns with respect to the kind of investigations it undertakes. For a text, for example the video recordings of a conversation or its transcript, is a record and it can be studied in so many different ways from different angles.
In fact an endless number of possibilities exist for such studies and furthermore they may be interminable in the sense that the conclusions of one may initiate another. In this the hermeneutic science distinguishes itself by raising ontological questions, questions pertaining to the modes of being that is intimately linked up with the texts as productions. The child who writes an essay discloses modes of Being of himself that are encapsulated in the texts i.e. the essay he writes. The manner in which he introduces the theme, the manner he sequences the topics, highlights certain aspects recalls certain things, projects certain ideas, camouflages the unpleasant, distorts deliberately certain issues and so forth are to be seen in the texts themselves and are immediately disclosive of what kind of person he is, what modes of Being he has succeed in crystallizing and making part of what he is. When he deliberately distorts certain aspects, or camouflages it with verbal tricks, we see that he has accessed and crystallized a mode of Being in which prejudice shows itself.
We shall give some concrete examples shortly to illustrate the
point. What should be noted here is that hermeneutic science raises
the most fundamental question that can be raised about texts that
are productions of human beings. Each text carries along with
it modes of Being of the individual who produced the texts and thereby
allow an understanding of the person as he is, as he discloses himself
from within himself through the texts. We access the person NOT
in terms of conceptual networks that are prefabricated
according to a model one fancies but rather allow our understanding to
be illuminated by submitting our cognitive processes fully to be
informed by what the person is himself, how he discloses himself
from within himself through the texts. In this way we access
the TRUTH about the person and not possible ways of categorizing him, of
classifying him. The principle that we raise ontological questions
with respect to
the meaning of TEXTS, brings us to the hermeneutic dimensions of our paradigm. At the moment though there is no uniform meaning to the word hermeneutics, though it is used in literature in various but related senses, a common thread is the notion of interpretation. We read a text and for getting at the meaning it embodies, we have to interpret it.
Gadamer a prominent figure in the recent developments in philosophical
hermeneutics, compares the process of interpreting a text of with that
of translating, moving from one language into another keeping however the
meaning essentially the same. But here I shall depart from
the interpretive concept ofreading a text widely current in
Western Hermeneutics and
subscribe to the learning concept of reading well entrenched in Saiva Siddhanta tradition in Indian Philosophy as propounded by Thirumular (7th cent A.D) and Meykandar (13 cent A.D) andso forth. When we approach a text as a problematic, it engages us meaningfully by disclosing to us an area of ignorance or DARKNESS in understanding. A TEXT is a text only because by its content and structure it discloses to us what we are yet to understand i.e. what is right now beyond our understanding. Thus it engages us by throwing out a challenge to our inquisitiveness to know, to learn.
We approach then a text with a limited understanding of it, an understanding that is superficial, global, partial and soforth and characterized by doubts, uncertainties, absence of clarity and so forth. Then in order to remove this cognitively dissonant kind of mode of Being of ourselves in relation to the text, we reflect, think, ponder, raise questions that are relevant, check on certain conjectures, cross check with others, re-examine the text in the face of some new questions that have emerged and so forth.
These are the kinds of activities we marshal in connection with removing
the area of Darkness in our understanding the text has succeeded
in disclosing. When these activities are sufficiently effective
this initial Darkness is no more - that area of Darkness becomes lighted
This movement of understanding whereby an area of Darkness
or ignorance is removed by reading the text in the above ways is what call
learning. Thus learning is the REDUCTION OF
IGNORANCE brought about by reading a TEXT. This reduction in the Scope of Darkness in understanding is simultaneous with becoming illuminated with respect to certain matters. There is less ignorance now and simultaneously more knowledge.
But what brings about this change in the mode of Being of the person who succeeds in reading a text?
There are things within the texts themselves that are now in his understanding
such that there is less ignorance now. The text then
tells something, discloses something whereby the person is less ignorant.
We call such elements LUMEN to distinguish it from such similar notions
as insights, perceptions and so forth which have their own connotations.
We term them LUMENS in view of the fact that they illuminate
our understanding. In the course of the various activities
while reading a text, such LUMENS flow into us, so to speak, lighting
up an area of relative darkness within us.
We should also
notice that LUMENS are TRUTHS for they are already
there in the TEXTS but which we did not access at the initial stages.
We note certain structural features i.e. the facts in the texts
and raise questions pertaining to their being-there as such
and such. In the wake of such ontological questions,
we access the deeper elements in the texts themselves whereby we gain an
understanding with respect to the being-there of the facts as such.
In this improved and deeper understanding of the text, the
understanding does not wander away from the text itself provided
it remains steadfast in its phenomenological attitude. Within
this attitude the ontological inquiry unearths what is already within
the texts but hidden from view at the initial stages. Thus the hermeneutic
inquiry, in the sense outlined here unearths what is there already in the
texts but which remain unseen at the initial stages but now seen
in all its majesty. Since what is there already in the texts are TRUTHS, clearly what hermeneutic science succeeds in discovering are TRUTHS. Since accessing these hidden elements in the body of the texts is simultaneously becoming illuminated about what in itself is, such TRUTHS in relation to this dimension of understanding become LUMENS.
We have now provided a preliminary sketch of the two basic principles of Hermeneutic Science viz.
What it is concerned with are TEXTS and that its research orientation is Ontological i.e. disclosing TRUTHS already available in the structure of texts. These TRUTHS are simultaneously LUMENS that light up human understanding, effect a reduction of ignorance i.e. enable the growth of learning.
We shall now proceed to illustrate these points from analyzing
3.0 Hermeneutic Analysis of Classroom Interactions
We notice that a classroom
interactional discourse is a joint production, something produced
jointly by a teacher and a group of children. Furthermore it is a text
that unlike say a conversation, is not spontaneous but rather stimulated
under certain contextual pressures, the details of which need not concern
us here at the moment. We can get a record of this text through
videotaping and transcribing. This transcription
with the necessary contextual features appropriately indicated,
becomes a faithful record of what transpired in the classroom, what is
jointly produced by the teacher and pupil. This record when
read for the first time (even by the teacher himself), a peculiar
problem arises: we do not understand it fully; we can raise
a host of questions pertaining to its structure
that we cannot answer immediately. The record then, becomes
a TEXT in the sense we have delineated above and
invites us to interrogate it in order to be at ease with respect
to the plethora of questions that can crop up.
The following is the English Version of an excerpt from such a Text, the original being in Bahasa
(Teacher has just finished reading a narrative from a book.While she was reading the pupils were
following her but using their own copies. The event constitutes the first episode)
1. T. Ha: now cikgu wants to ask questions about what
cikgu read (just now). Do you all understand or
2. C. (chorus): understand !
3. T. Ha:, (you) understand, good (pause)
4. T. If you had understood, you can answer my questions, yes?
5. (pupils nod their heads)
7. T. Okay now you (all) look at this picture
((The Picture is a drawing in the blackboard depicting
8. T. Where can you get a scene such as this? (pause, looks at the children)
9. C. (silence)
10. T. Where can you get a scene similar to this?
11. C. (silence)
12. T. In this picture, who is Ali?
[ T : Teacher; C : Class, pupils; Cikgu(m)
To illustrate the form of Hermeneutic Science, we shall choose here only one aspect, or structural FACT of this text. viz. the occurrence of the complex discourse marker okay, now (Malay: Baik, sekarang).When we range over a large number of such texts, it is found that
1) it occurs periodically in the teachings of all teachers no matter what subject they teach.
2) Sometimes it is not full and sometimes different words are choosen e.g. well, well now and so forth.
3) But practically in all cases, the activities that precede the occurrence of this phrase are different in some ways from those that follow.
4) Whenever it occurs, it is always the teacher who uses it and not
any one of the children.
These are the basic FACTS that we can gather through an examination of the distributional pattern of the phrase and the contexts of its occurrence. Having gathered these facts about it, a simple reflection discloses that: Whenever it occurs there is episodization, terminating one sequence of activities and initiating at the same time another sequence of activities, distinct from the earlier.
This then is a LUMEN that we have got without which much effort, provided we isolate this phrase and note the facts of its occurrences from the texts themselves. It is a TRUTH that there is such a thing as episodization, the terminating of one sequence of activities and initiating another as evidenced by the qualitative difference in the activities that precede and follow, to be noted within the texts themselves.
Now having accessed the presence of episodization as a TRUTH
that is there but hidden for ordinary glance and hence something that has
to be wrested out by the appropriate selection of facts and the raising
of questions, we are in a position to ask further questions by bringing
it to bear upon certain other factual matters.
We notice that we access the presence of EPISODIZATION through the factual presence of the discourse marker `Baik, sekarang' and its equivalence. Our present understanding of episodization as an act that terminates one sequence of activities and initiates another can now be seen as somewhat incomplete.
For `sekarang' (now) is a temporal term and we do not understand at
this juncture, why episodization should link with a temporal term.
We can paraphrase roughly the episodization as a phenomenon with the verbal
expression `stop that, stop this' and so forth. The `now', has the
sense of `enpresenting' (to use a phrase of Heidegger), bringing into being-there
something when the ongoing at the point of episodizing becomes something
of the past, what went on but no more but now in its place something else
becomes the ongoing. In other words, episodization is simultaneously
historicalising, pushing the ongoing into this past and introducing as
the current something in its place. The interactions between the
teacher and pupils is not only sequentially organized movement, a sequence
of episodes but also a movement where there is historicalising, in the
This then is another LUMEN or TRUTH somewhat deeper than the initial
that we access, learn to SEE when we raise further questions after noting
the presence of episodization in the texts. Episodization only discloses
the terminating of one kind of activities and initiating another.
This understanding is deepened further by noting that it is more appropriately
historicalising, and a host of new questions crop up now when we link it
up with other textual facts that have been gathered.
For from the texts themselves we note that it is always the teacher who uses the phrase and never the child. Thus it shows with the LUMENS we have gained that it is the teacher who episodizes or historicalizes. This LUMEN is rather simple and can be said to be rather obvious, quite plain, anyone can see it without any hermeneutic-reflective effort. But not so, in the wake of some questions we can raise now. That it is only the teacher and NOT the child who episodizes, historicalizes has to be understood for it is rather enigmatic, puzzling. We want to ask: What is there in the instructional situations (such as the ones we are analyzing) such that it is only the teacher who episodizes, historicalizes and not the child?
The answer - the noting and naming something already in the text - is not easy to come by and considerable hermeneutic effort becomes necessary.
In connection with this, because historicalising is that which
structures interactional situations, introduces the kind of texture it
has, the teacher is in privileged Mode of Being in being a teacher in that
situation, a privilege that is NOT enjoyed by the children. He has
the freedom to introduce what he pleases (within the constraints of the
instructional situation, of course) into the interactions and thereby give
it a texture that otherwise it would not have, a freedom that the children
do not have. Thus we see the teacher being a LEADER in that situation
and correspondingly the children being the LED. Hence there is POWER-STRUCTURE
present as an important element in the classroom interaction in such a
way that almost the whole of POWER is vested in the hands of the teacher
and not the pupils. In episodizing,
historicalizing, the teacher exercises this POWER and thus discloses himself as the LEADER of the situation with the children in it as the LED.
So this is a LUMEN that we have got now as an important element
that contributes to the textual structure of the structure of the classroom
interaction. In its wake, it raises another question: What does it
really mean to say that the teacher is the LEADER while the children are
the LED? Our understanding at this point, though sufficiently differentiated
to linguisticalize it, is not however fully clear. What is hidden,
we want to ask, in the notion that the teacher is a LEADER and the children
are the LED?
This makes us look at the whole of the text, its beginnings, its sequential developments and its closings. We are forced to look at the WHOLE of the text in order to be further clear about this notion. I shall mention here without going the details that, the teacher is LEADER because he has an END-IN-SIGHT that he institutes right at the beginning of the instructional situation and that this remains his global INTENTION throughout the interaction and the interaction is brought to a closure when he sees that this global INTENTION has been achieved. He is a leader because it is he who has this global intention, the END-IN-SIGHT that institutes the instruction as such, i.e. brings into Being- there the interactivity as such.
The children do not generate this END-IN-SIGHT but own it as their own when projected by the teacher at the beginning of the lesson.
Thus the Mode of Being of both the teacher and the children are vectorial, intention infected; their Modes of Being are pre-organized towards actions of a specific kind - instructional-type for the teacher and learning-type for the children. Further questions of the hermeneutic kind discloses that there are interactions within the classroom only because the teacher and the children are WITH-EACH-OTHER the moment they share the same END-IN-SIGHT. Their social relations are conditioned by a socio-psychological structure of WITHNESS, a Mode of Being in which neither the teacher nor the children can be autonomous, indifferent to each other. There are OBLIGATIONS on both sides the moment the SITUATION comes into being, an obligation that continues to exist till the situation as such is dissolved.
To summarize the essentials, without going into the details, we can see that the kind of inquiry we have conducted so far is rather different from what is going now in classroom interaction analysis. We looked at the episodization phenomena and going deeper and deeper into it while remaining steadfast in our phenomenological attitude, we learned to see more and more. But the isolation of the episodization phenomena has enabled us to see what can be called GLOBAL STRUCTURE of the instructional situations for we cannot understand the teacher as LEADER and the children as LED without looking at the WHOLE of the text. When we do that we see further that episodization comes along with instituting a situation where an END-IN-SIGHT is introduced as the Global Intentional Orientation of the situation. This is done in the OPENINGS of the instruction. And corresponding to this instituting, there is also the dissolving of the situation that happens at the closure of the instruction. Episodization takes place between these openings and closings and is made possible only because there is the socio-psychological structure of WITHNESS that makes the teacher and the children an interacting group, a collectivity interacting with each other towards an end. When we see further the progressive movement from the openings to the CLOSURE, we see that the whole situation is dynamic, that it is essentially progressive-historical, historicalising periodically and because there is a need to move towards a closure which happens when the END-IN-SIGHT projected right at the beginning becomes a reality, they are now in the Mode of Being intended right at the beginning. This progressive movement towards the close also discloses another sociopsychological structure: that of TOGETHERNESS, for unless they are together with each other, a collective movement towards an end is impossible.
3.1 The Local Structure
The kind of LUMENS we have named and articulated above though
they enable us to understand the global structure of the classroom interactions,
is not sufficient however to understand the action-reaction pairs that
we see as a fact of the text. In the text above, the utterances (1,2),
(2,3), (4,5) and so forth have a coherence, a relatedness, an intimacy
that we cannot make sense of in terms of LUMENS we have though they may
be absolutely necessary. For the elements of the Global Structure
are the sorts of things that make possible the being-there as a reality
such action-reaction pairs. But however something more specific
is there in such pairs that we intuit and within this unclear understanding isolate them as pairs having some kind of coherence. We have to analyze them hermeneutically in order to gain an understanding that will make this vague understanding something more perspicuous. For this purpose, let us look at the pairs (6,7), (7,8), (8,9), (9,10) and (10,11), (11,12). Here (6,7) is quite easy to understand: The teacher asks them to look at a picture and the children do precisely that. Here we have COMMAND-COMPLIANCE kind of relationship. But when we look at (8.9) (9,10) and so forth it becomes problematic. The silence of children is a language, a text whose meaning is ambiguous. It can mean that the children are reluctant to respond.
But this can be ruled out because just before this episode they responded quite well verbally. Another possibility is that they are puzzled, unclear with respect to what is required of them and so forth. Or it may be that the children have not heard clearly the question posed. That the teacher repeats the question almost verbatim discloses to us that this is how the teacher interpreted the silence of children. They did not respond because they did not hear me. But silence is again obtained when the question is repeated in the pair (10,11). Now the subsequent behaviour shows that the teacher now interprets differently the meaning of the silence. The repetition of the question loud and clear has ruled out the possibility of poor acoustic conditions. The silence that is again obtained, then cannot be because they did not hear but rather because they do not understand. Such questions are non-productive, cannot produce the intended reaction. So now the teacher abandons that mode of questioning and shifts to another form - that of identifying the various individuals depicted in the picture.
We see that each time a teacher says something, an intention is projected
as for the children and that she moves to a different act only when this
intention is owned up by the children as their own and realize a Mode of
Being indicative of that or there is a failure in this. Thus when
the teacher invites the children to look up the picture, the children in
fact look up. The children here grasp the intention projected by
the teacher either modify the text keeping the intention the same or abandon
that intention itself and come up with another possibly simpler question,
something within the competence of the children to understand and realize.
The phenomena where the teacher throws out an intention and the children
understand it, own it as their own is what we have termed INTENTION-FUSION,
a specific case of the more general INTENTION-ACCOMODATION more frequent
in non-instructional interactions such as casual conversations and so forth.
Bringing about intention-fusion whereby children are stimulated
to crystallize, bring into existence a Mode of Being would then turn out
to be the essence of the instructional interactions as such. This
is what teaching is and correspondingly what learning is. The children
in crystallizing various Modes of Being in the course of interacting with
the teacher, actually exteriorize potentialities within, realize them as
now within their understanding, within what they can do and so forth.
What they crystallize in their behaviour is no more something they are
ignorant of, something that is inaccessible to them.
4.0 The Logic of Hermeneutic Science
We have provided a sketch of what we have called Hermeneutic Science, a brief practice of that is sufficient to disclose its essentials, its flavor. With this accomplished, we can return now to the basic question we started off with: In what sense Hermeneutic Science qualifies to be called a science, an expression of human rationality just as vigorous as the scientistics that Popper champions as the logic of Science. His claim that scientistics has the Structure: P1 -----> TT -------> EE -------> P2 (and its many other complexfications) is clearly something that we cannot subscribe to without important modifications that are actually equivalent to throwing his schema. We propose the following as something that truly represents
the essentials of the logic of Hermeneutic Science. 
E (F1) ---> (On.Q1) ---> (L1) ---> (F2) ---> (On.Q2) --->
F : Facts i.e. observable features from texts themselves
On.Q. : Ontological questions
L : Lumens and truths.
MT : metatext
b) essay written by a child in response to a theme suggested by a teacher, a painting, a sketch, a report, a model and so forth.
c) These TEXTS are sources of two kinds of
entities : facts and LUMENS. A hermeneutic problem emerges in relation
to some facts locatable in the texts themselves e.g. the repeated occurrence
of `Baik, sekarang' in our case. It is this assembly of facts, in
which there is already a selective mechanism operating, that along with
the ontological question we raise that the hermeneutic problem arises.
The problems here do not arise because of a theory, a model and so forth
but perhaps because of some preunderstanding. The facts alone are
also not sufficient. For the facts can be noticed but the ontological
questions pertaining to their being-there as such may not be raised.
And only in the wake of this problem that some kind of reflection is done
on the facts gathered there and kept in sight now. Reflection here
may involve various kinds of mental activities - thinking, recalling, pondering,
wondering, imagining, conjecturing and a host of others. Whatever
it is when done within the phenomenological attitude, a destruction takes
place - the annihilation of the DARKNESS that one is IN, in relation to
the hermeneutic problem. We wrest out a clarity or LUMEN with regard
to what is there in the text that structures it but has remained hidden
from view hitherto. Thus here we do not have the tentative theory
and Error Elimination of Popper but rather annihilation of Darkness surrounding
one's understanding and trying our best to light it up. And because
of this, it is also effecting LEARNING because the scope of Darkness within
or ignorance of oneself is reduced somewhat.
d) Having gained the LUMENS in the struggle with the hermeneutic problem we name them and articulate this better understanding by producing what we have called a metadiscourse, a new second order TEXT about the studied TEXT. Now and in conjuction with some other facts in the TEXT, a new hermeneutic problem emerges and hence the cycle continues possibly indefinitely. Thus our schema too is evolutionary but in a sense rather different.
4.1 Objectivity in Hermeneutic Science
One of the objections raised by scholars against hermeneutics
is that it is idiosyncratic and hence rather subjective. This is
of course a gross misunderstanding, something that arises because an appreciative
account of a TEXT is not distinguished from what we have called metadiscourses,
textual productions that embody lumens about the primary text or discourse.
But what is the difference?
An appreciative account is NOT ontological in its orientation
to the text. Such an account may highlight certain structural features,
compare it with others, articulate the various feelings it arouses, emotions
it evokes, relate the wonder it appears to be, or condemn the lack of taste,
nicety, style and what not. The focus is on the structural features
- the facts in the texts, as we have called it, - the facts in the texts,
as we have called it, - and the impact it has on oneself as a human being.
Such articulations of one's own reactions towards some aspects of the texts
is not what we have called metadiscourses for here they lack the raising
of the ontological questions pertaining to the structural facts.
There are no hermeneutic problems that challenges the understanding and
where considerable effort is expended to wrest out a deeper understanding
of the text, through gaining a vision hither to unavailability of TRUTHS
that remain hidden within it. The metadiscourses are objective and
NOT idiosyncratic for they are articulations of TRUTHS that are articulations
of TRUTHS that are in the texts themselves that anybody can SEE for himself
provided he assembles the same facts, raises the same ontological questions.
When he succeeds in gaining the same LUMENS as the initial researcher
then an agreement comes to prevail between the two.
It must be noted that this notion of intersubjective agreement, is not
the same as the principle of refutability or intersubjective confirmation
that is noted as the essence of scientistics. For there is no replication
but only examining the same texts. The possibility of replicating
an experiment is the essence of scientistics and only on this basis that
we talk of refutability, confirmation, verification and so forth.
What is thus replicated and confirmed acquires the status of an objectivity
valid claim that can now be stated as a natural law.
In contrast to this what we have is the same text understood as
embodying certain TRUTHS by one investigator and which he articulates in
a metadiscourse, and another person re-examining the same with respect
to these claims. Such a person has to learn to see in the same manner
as the first person and when he gains the same LUMENS as the initial investigator,
then he agrees with the validity and accuracy of the claims of the metadiscourse.
There are certain principles that underlie this process of coming
to agree (or disagree) with the metadiscourse. We can list them as
A) Principle of Consistency
This is quite easy enough to see and
possibly not peculiar to metadiscourses as such. But nevertheless
we list it here for it serves an important principle for rejecting (or
accepting) a metadiscourse. TRUTHS cannot contradict
each other: one TRUTH cannot be inconsistent with another. And since
metadiscourses are articulations of TRUTHS as such, we can see that the
account as a whole must be consistent within itself, logically speaking.
B) Principle of Substantiation
This principle may be the most distinctive
of the hermeneutic science. For in the course of hermeneutic inquiry
it is very easy to slide into the appreciative mode or even propaganda
type, condemnatory and so forth. This principle helps to safeguard
against such deviations. Since metadiscourses are articulations of
TRUTHS in the texts themselves that one learns to see by gaining LUMENS,
there must be evidences for validating the presence of such TRUTHS in the
texts. Since the facts and the ontological questions raised provide
the LUMENS, it is clear that every claim in the metadiscourse is substantiable
in terms of two things: the facts in the texts and ontological questions
raised about them. The facts are interrogated ontologically and the
LUMENS gained. Therefore they serve as the disclosive features (called
laksanas in Indian Nyaya Tradition). Every hermeneutic claim is substantiable
in terms of these disclosive features and hence any claim that is in the
metadiscourse that is not substantiated in this way or not substantiable
in this manner even in principle can be rejected as pure fancy, a whim,
or wish, an imaginative play of words and so forth. Now TEXTS
embody an infinity of TRUTHS. The classroom discourse that we have
cited can be analyzed even hermeneutically in so many different ways so
that a plethora of metadiscourses can be generated. They may be consistent
and every claim may even be substantiated in the above sense. Some
new principles come to prevail in the wake of this multiple possibilities.
The problem is akin to that which exists in scientistics with regard to
the different but equally possible theories can be used to explain a phenomena.
C) The Principle of Inadequacy
If there are two metadiscourses,
say X and Y such that Y articulates LUMENS while X articulates only glimpses
of them, understanding that are NOT FALSE but still vague and so forth,
then Y is to be preferred over X. And if Ax and Ay are the corresponding
approaches i.e. the manner the disclosive features are brought together
and interrogated, then Ay is to be preferred over Ax, on the basis that
Ax is INADEQUATE in comparison with Ay. Now justifying an approach
and hence accepting as valid a metadiscourse using the above principles
may not be always at the expense of others. We do not always reject
a metadiscourse just because it is different from one currently prevailing.
In other words, it is possible to allow for growth but on valid grounds.
We can describe this principles as follows:
D) The Principle of Distinctiveness
An approach X, possibly only now being introduced is acceptable along with the existing approaches Y1, Y2 ... Yn and so forth provided it discloses LUMENS not disclosed by others, i.e. it is distinctive in that it serves to unearth TRUTHS that have remained undisclosed hitherto.
These principles, and the exercise of them distinguishes Hermeneutic
Science from scientistics. It is clear also that Hermeneutic Science
as such is immensely rational and just as objective as the scientistics
that is championed by philosophers like Popper as the expression of human
The truths that are disclosed by Hermeneutic Science are not universal
LAWS, but rather realities there in the world to be seen wherever the disclosive
features are observed. In this way the hermeneutic science transforms
the ontological inquiries, so far only pursued by philosophers, into a
vigorous science, just as objective and rational as any science can be.
Armed with such understandings a person sees more in a situation than an
average person and thereby contributes more effectively towards solving
problems that may arise. It builds up the competency of the researcher
and thereby more effective in solving the many
problems that may arise.
5.0 Curriculum Research as a Hermeneutic Science
In our example to illustrate the essentials of Hermeneutic Science,
we took aspects from classroom interactions. This is no accident
for it is problems in connection with teaching behaviour that necessitated
the deep thinking that resulted in the formulation of Hermeneutic Science
as the most effective approach to understanding the nature of the problems.
What new insights (or LUMENS) do we get when we look at the school
curriculum from the point of view of hermeneutic science?
First of all we notice that whatever that happens in the school are not simply behaviour or responses elicited by various kinds of stimuli because of some previous contingencies of reinforcement. Neither are they simply mechanical productions such as that of computers indicative of some cognitive processes. Whatever we can identify are texts produced intentionally (some unintentionally) by people which are simultaneously that of bringing into being-there something which otherwise would not exist. We use the term `crystallization' to describe this way of looking at the productions of texts. The verbal responses, certain kinds social behaviour, habits, drawings, essays, exercises, reports and so forth are texts that are brought into being-there by these crystallizing or enpresenting processes.
These texts are the realities that we can examine and evaluate
with respect to the attainment or
absence of it in relation to the GLOBAL INTENTIONS that we have for the school as a whole. The texts are stimulated productions of both the children and teachers, it is that for which the school as an institution exists. The school exists as a psychotechnological institution in which a specified kind of textual productions are expected. It is also understood that these productions are simultaneously learning activities when it pertains to the students, teaching activities when it pertains to the teachers.
The teachers however though most immediately related to the students who actually produce the various kinds of texts, are not absolutely independent in what they can do. They are constrained somewhat in what they can do in the classroom with the children. When we ask the question: What constraints them among many things that we can name as a way of answering them the most important is certainly the curriculum. The school curriculum is that which regulates the textual productions of the teacher and thereby the textual productions of the children.When we inquire further within the hermeneutical framework we can note further that the school curriculum is NOT simply a list of topics, a sequential organization of them with a list of possible instructional strategies and so forth but rather the GLOBAL INTENTION of the society as a whole (via the Ministry of Education or some other social groups such as church, a welfare society and so forth). In the choice of topics and its prescription to the teacher the Global Intention of the society exists there in the school, requiring that the teacher agrees with that and produce teaching texts consistent with that.
This analysis then of what the school curriculum is, discloses how the
instructional activities of the teacher and the learning activities of
the children it brings about are related to the social intentions of the
community as a whole. With this LUMEN, of course we can raise enormous
numbers of new questions that would help us further in our understanding
of what a school in fact is, what kind of a social reality it is and why
some do well and others don't. We shall not go into all these as
our purpose is to point out the relevance of Hermeneutic Science in such
studies, a task which we believe we have accomplished from whatever we
have said so far.
 For details on this issue see the relevant chapters of K. Loganathan Mutharayan (1992) where very detailed analysis of classroom texts are discussed. Here we present only elements of it sufficient for the purposes of discussing the issue.
 For more detailed discussion on this issue see chapter 9 of K. Loganathan Mutharayan (1992). The present one is a slightly improved version, where now I have also introduced the Principle of Substantiation as something very important in the logic of Hermeneutic Science.
1. Gadamer, Truth and Method
2. Heidegger, Martin, (1962). Being and Time. (Eng. Trans)
by Macquarrie & Robinson, Basil Black Well.
3. Loganathan Mutharayan K. (1992). Hermeneutic Analysis
of Discourse, International School of
Dravidian Linguistics, India.
4. Popper Karl R. (1972). Objective Knowledge, Oxford Clarenden Press.