Study Guide

Paul Ricouer - The Brainy Interpreters

The Brainy Interpreters

If someone eavesdropped on the members of this clique, that eavesdropper might overhear these guys debating an interpretation of some play or poem or novel… but more likely, the eavesdropper would hear a passionate discussion about interpretation itself. These fellows fancied themselves the interpreters of interpretation.

Who are we talking about here? Well, there's Hans-Georg Gadamer, the clique's rule-writer. No one put the time or energy into the group that Gadamer did. He made the clique official and became its face to non-members. Then there's Martin Heidegger, the popular guy of the club. He used big words like ontology and fore-structures and Da-freakin'-sein, and he demanded that the others think of hermeneutics as a way of life.

Let's not forget about Friedrich Schleiermacher, an early member of the clique, who talked non-stop about finding universally valid rules for interpretation. And finally, there's Wilhelm Dilthey, another early member, who tried to get the Brainy Interpreters recognized by the school's Science Club. He insisted that all members be oh so methodological and oh so scientific.