Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 283–301 | Cite as

Zu Einem Methodologischen Interpretationskonstruktionismus

  • Hans Lenk

Toward a methodological interpretionist constructionism


Interpretari necesse est (Interpretation is necessary). This slogan is summarizing the methodological and epistemological essay concentrating on what can be called a transcendental interpretationism and a methodological interpretationism. This approach is combining a pragmatic interpretive approach with a constitutional quasi Kantian but more pluralistic and flexible epistemology. It takes up the assets of Nietzsches radical interpretationism without ending up in an interpretationist idealism. Though a basic fundamental insight is a statement of the interpretation-impragnatedness of any knowledge and experience whatsoever, there is nevertheless a possibility to combine a kind of critical realism with this interpretationist approach. Though we are always obliged to use interpretation-dependent epistemological schemata and concepts as well as theories (we have no non-interpretive concepts, theories and ways of gaining and constructing knowledge), we have still, for practical reasons, to presuppose an external independent world which can however only be described in interpretation-dependent terms. Even this epistemological model is certainly an interpretive one. If we distinguish between different levels of more or less variable interpretations (we cannot, by our very biological constitution, change primary interpretations built in to our biological constitution and make-up of sense-organs etc.), we can analyse and define truth as a relation between different levels and types of interpretations. The ideal of truth makes some sense of a concept of correspondence, though in the last analysis it is a combination of coherence-theoretical and pragmatic-constructivist ideas. — The model of an epistemological interpretationism has the advantage (by contradistinction, e.g., with critical rationalism) to be consistently applied to itself: The interpretive epistemology is certainly but an interpretational model itself. — The sketched interpretationism has certain similarities with Nelson Goodman's constructive interpretive pluralism and Hilary Putnam's internal realism, although there are slight, but decisive differences to be carefully observed. The differences have to do with the mentioned practical realism and the presupposition of one world in which we live. The similarities are greater with respect to internal realism. A decisive difference is only that you cannot, according to methodological and transcendental interpretationism, compel somebody towards the uniqueness of language use. There are always degrees of freedom and variation to change the usage of signs. There is no socially intended uniqueness and compulsory usage of signs and their meanings. Even within the language community the rules are always only conventionally realized and actualized. There is no real correspondence between signs and signs (or interpretive constructs, for that matter). Any correspondence whatsoever can only refer to interpretational constructs itself. Any classification, verification, selection and identification of facts, even any thinking of data and facts as such is in the last analysis dependent on interpretations. Even the conception of an epistemological subject is but an interpretational construct on a higher level.

Key words

G. Abel Nietzsche Goodman Putnam Interpretation Interpretationsabhängigkeit Grundsatz der Interpretationsimprägniertheit transzendentaler/methodologischer Interpretationismus pragmatischer Konstitutionsinterpretationismus 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Lenk

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