Hermeneutics is the theory of interpretation. It is the theory that everything is a matter of interpretation.
Including this definition presumably, which is one of the reasons I found this book infuriating, because if this definition is true then how are we supposed to know what to do and think? What is a fact? How can we ever agree on anything?
I am writing this review and that’s the only interpretation there is, but this book seems to argue that’s not true.
Hermeneutics comes from German philosophy and is focused on the law, the historical tradition, and the classics. Hermeneutics stresses we begin our interpretations from an inherited situation and never from scratch.
The book also covers Deconstruction which started as a French movement of the 1960s and has a background in linguistics. Deconstruction is suspicious of inherited interpretations and traditions.
Hermeneutics takes conversation as its model of enquiry whereas Deconstruction scrutinises the details often to ridiculous depths.