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
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
(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 is.
2.0. The Essence of Hermeneutic Science.
Hermeneutic Science distinguishes
itself from the scientistics such as that of Popper and at the same
eminently rational and objective as it allows for agreement or
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 objective.
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
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
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 of a
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
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 up, illuminated.
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
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 above sense.
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
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
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
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
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
a) There is first of
all a TEXT which is a production stimulated by situational pressures of
various sorts. Such
texts can be verbal or nonverbal, e.g. an utterance such as the response of a child or the questions of the teacher,
the whole classroom discourse, an
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
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
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 follows:
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
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
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 rationality.
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
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.