Dialectical Readings: Three Types of Interpretations

Dialectical Readings: Three Types of Interpretations

by Stephen N. Dunning

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Overview

Interpretation pervades human thinking. Whether perception or experience, spoken word or written theory, whatever enters our consciousness must be interpreted in order to be understood. Every area of inquiry—art and literature, philosophy and religion, history and the social sciences, even many aspects of the natural sciences—involves countless opportunities to interpret the object of inquiry according to very different paradigms. These paradigms may derive from the language we speak, the nature of our education, or personal preferences. The abundance and diversity of paradigms make interpretation both fascinating in its complexity and often frustrating for the conflicts it generates.

In Dialectical Readings, Dunning distinguishes three types of interpretation, each defined in terms of a distinctive dialectical way of thinking: theoretical interpretation, which assumes binary oppositions; transactional interpretation, which seeks reciprocal relations; and transformational interpretation, which discerns paradoxical meanings. Dunning offers new and insightful readings of familiar texts by B. F. Skinner, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Lee Benson, Roland Barthes, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Michel Foucault and sheds new light on works by Thomas Kuhn, Joseph Campbell, Reinhold Niebuhr, Søren Kierkegaard, Paul Tillich, and Paul Ricoeur. Dialectical Readings enables readers to recognize diverse dialectical approaches to understanding—their own as well as those of others—in a way that provides new and helpful insights into a wide variety of subjects in which conflicting interpretations abound.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780271025582
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication date: 03/15/2005
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.66(d)

About the Author

Stephen N. Dunning is Associate Professor and Chair of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His books include Kierkegaard's Dialectic of Inwardness: A Structural Analysis of the Theory of Stages (1985) and The Tongues of Men: Hegel and Hamann on Religious Language and History (1979).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 1(20)
A Question 1(3)
Three Types of Interpretation 4(4)
Typologies 8(3)
Dialectics 11(3)
Something About Kierkegaard 14(1)
Applications 15(6)
1 Paradigms of Science and Technology
21(24)
A Science and Technology of Human Behavior (B. F. Skinner)
22(7)
The Tyranny of Technology (Jacques Ellul)
29(6)
A Paradoxical Paradigm for Science (Thomas Kuhn)
35(10)
2 Myths and Their Meanings
45(26)
The Structuralist Sorcerer (Claude Levi-Strauss)
46(7)
An Anthropological Negotiator (Mary Douglas)
53(7)
A Modern Mythmaker (Joseph Campbell)
60(11)
3 Frontiers in History
71(24)
Frontiers in History and in Historiography (Lee Benson)
72(6)
The Present as Frontier (E. H. Carr)
78(7)
The Frontier Within (Reinhold Niebuhr)
85(10)
4 Variations on the Theme of Love
95(26)
Love as Discourse (Roland Barthes)
96(8)
Love as an Art (Erich Fromm)
104(7)
Paradoxes of Love (Soren Kierkegaard)
111(10)
5 Dialectics of Identity
121(28)
The Fruitfulness of Contradictions (Friedrich Nietzsche)
122(8)
Relationship as Reciprocity (Martin Buber)
130(8)
Paradoxical Existence (Paul Tillich)
138(11)
6 Interpreting Theories of Interpretation
149(28)
A Postmodern Protest (Michel Foucault)
150(9)
An Ethics of Interpretation (E. D. Hirsch)
159(7)
Transforming Interpretation (Paul Ricoeur)
166(11)
Conclusion
177(8)
Theoretical Knowledge
178(2)
Transactional Relations
180(1)
Transformational Revelation
181(2)
Unfinished Agenda
183(2)
Index 185

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