the hermeneutic dilemma

At this point we arrive at something called the Hermeneutic Dilemma. This dilemma, with its beautiful name, reminds us that it is impossible to understand the whole without reference to the parts and that it is just as impossible to understand the parts without reference to the whole. How do we achieve understanding then? Well, by making lots of mistakes and by investigating the part and its place in the whole by constantly testing and thinking creatively, i.e. by a process of heuristic dialectics. Do you want to know what the words heuristic and dialectics means? See the note at the end of this sentence.[1]


In order to do this we need to create sets of things, separate things out in our mind to take account of similarities and differences. Taxonomy is all about devising such categories. The best categories are often the simple ones. For example when you want to make a set of categories for an Architect you will make a category: What do architects do? Then there might be a category: What skills do architects need to do what they do? Then: What training do they need?


[1] Heuristic means something quite innocent: it stands for the process of discovery achieved by doing things yourself. The word dialectic, is similarly innocent, it describes the process whereby people argue. I propose sothing, and someone else reacts to that, on the basis of that reaction I alter or refine my first proposal. The first proposal is usually referred to as the “thesis” the reaction as the “antithesis” and the product the “synthesis”, a whole heap of expensive words for jewels as common as brick.