Today you will learn about the hermeneutic method, characteristics, steps and examples so that you understand what it means and you can apply its concepts in the home education process with your children.
Hans-Georg Gadamer was a philosopher and one of the leading scholars of hermeneutics.
He tried to make us understand that the hermeneutical method is not (as many believe) opposition to the scientific method, but rather a much broader approach that seeks to investigate, in addition to the means, the ends.
What does it mean to inquire into the ends as well as the means?
Think not only of the “technical” responses to the decisions that can be made but also of the moral counterpart that is of great importance in each decision.
What is the hermeneutical method?
To better understand what hermeneutic method is, it is key that we first know where the word hermeneutics comes from.
This word comes from the Greek and can mean both “understand” and “interpret”.
In its beginnings, this method was used only to better understand and interpret some of the texts and literature that were part of history and even current literature.
With the passage of time and with the support of the thought and work of many philosophers, this method begins to be thought to be used in each of the actions of human beings.
The hermeneutical method features
Here are some of the characteristics of the hermeneutical method:
What are the steps of the hermeneutical method?
According to what many experts have written about it, the most important steps for text compression using the method are the following:
- Identification of a problem
The first thing to do in the method is to identify a problem or simply consider a problem to which we want to find one or more answers.
And it is that any research method must start with a problem or simply a question to answer.
- Identify which texts are relevant to the problem
In the second step, all the primary texts that were taken into account to create or suggest new ideas must be looked at.
What is the purpose of this step? Being able to have a better idea of what is being contributed to the investigation.
After this, it is also possible for the researchers to make a selection of other topics or readers of their own interest, in order to make the research carried out much stronger.
- Validate the texts
Is the quality and quantity of texts sufficient to be able to carry out an interpretation of sufficient quality on the theme or problem that we are studying?
These are the questions we must ask ourselves in one of the most important steps of the hermeneutical method.
Validity cannot be tested exactly, but if we can approach a sufficient number of texts and a good enough quality to ensure that we are strengthening the research process.
- Data analysis or pattern search
The next step is to understand that there is no limit to how much data we must analyze.
We simply have to be the researchers who decide what guidelines we are going to follow in this regard.
It is important to carry out a separate analysis of each text and understanding the context in which it was developed, it is also key to seek an understanding of why that text and that research were focused in that way.
- A new interpretation with existing interpretations
Have you finished the investigation? You haven’t if it hasn’t been opened up to the methodological community yet! That is what must be done in step 5, that is, other competencies must be accommodated in our research.
Examples of the hermeneutical method
Now that you know the hermeneutical method and its steps, it is possible to look at some of the most important historical examples of the method.
We assure you that with this you will be able to better understand the philosophy behind a method that is not easy to understand.
Adam and Eve, the example of sacred hermeneutics
One of the great examples of the hermeneutic method has to do with its beginnings and something mentioned in the Holy Bible: the story of Adam and Eve.
What is the question you should ask yourself to better understand the text? Is the serpent that tempted Adam real? Or was it simply a demonic representation or a representation of the evil that all human beings have?
How many different interpretations can there be of a single story in a sacred text like the Bible?
The lamp and the drawer
Another widely used example to better understand hermeneutics and the method is that of the lamp and the drawer.
In this example there is a sentence that says something like this: “there is no person who turns on a lamp and keeps it in a drawer, they place it in a place to light it”.
Many people have studied such phrases and some come to the conclusion that the author was simply talking about the great utility of lamps and that they are used to give light to different spaces.
Other philosophers interpret it as a way of saying that the things we have of value should not be kept but should be out in the open for all to see.
There are even thinkers who take it further and interpret this phase as a message for those who have hidden talents and who do not give light to such talents.
Now that you know a little more about the interpretive hermeneutical method, you can use it in the investigative process with your children and as a counterpart to the scientific method.