Interpretation and the Sciences of Man Author(s): Charles Taylor Source: The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 25, No. 1 (Sep.

, 1971), pp. 3-51 Published by: Philosophy Education Society Inc. Stable URL: Accessed: 21/09/2010 11:31
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JLs there

a sense

in which

in the sciences

of man?

"hermeneutical" avoidably to Dilthey. But back in the work of Gadamer,1 in Ric ur's to the fore, for instance, of Habermas.3 of Freud,2 and in the writings interpretation to hermeneutics, in the sense relevant is an Interpretation, sense of an object of to make clear, to make attempt study. This be a text, or a text-analogue, in which must, therefore, object is confused, contradic incomplete, cloudy, seemingly one way or another, unclear. The interpretation aims to tory?in or sense. to light an underlying coherence bring can be called "hermeneu This means that any science which be dealing with sense, must tical," even in an extended interrelated forms of meaning. another of the confusingly try to see a little more clearly what this involves. we

is essential to explanation it is, that there is an un in the sciences of man, goes component the question has come recently again interpretation The view that

some way



Let us

about which 1) We need, first, an object or field of objects, or its absence, of making can speak in terms of coherence sense

a distinction, even if 2) Second, we need to be able to make a relative one, between sense or coherence made, the and its only or signifier s. For in a particular field of carriers embodiment or con the task of making clear what is fragmentary otherwise, be radically fused would No sense could be given to impossible. this idea. We have to be able to make for our interpretations
1 2 3

Cf. Cf. Cf.

e.g., Paul e.g.,

H. Ric



Wahrheit Gadamer, De l'interpr?tation, Erkenntnis und



Methode, 1965.


1960. 1968.

J. Habermas,



4 claims of the order


: the meaning in this text or present confusedly is clearly expressed here. The meaning, in other text-analogue is one which admits of more than one expression, words, and, in this sense, a distinction must be possible between meaning and

The point of the above qualification, that be only relative, is that there are cases where line can be drawn between uous, nonarbitrary It can be plausibly (I expression. argued there isn't

this distinction may no clear, unambig what is said and its

think convincingly to go into it here) that this is the normal space although and fundamental condition of meaningful that exact expression, or equivalence a rare and localized of meaning, is synonymy, or uses of civilization. of specialized achievement But languages do away with the distinc this, if true (and I think it is), doesn't tion between meaning and expression. sense in which ameaning re-expressed Even if there is an important can not be in a new medium this by no means entails that we can give no a meaning of expressing in a new way. It does

declared identical, sense to the project of course raise an interesting and difficult question about what can a clearer way: what it in be meant is the "it" which by expressing is clarified examining Hence if equivalence is denied? in the sciences interpretation must be describ the object of a science of interpretation in terms of sense and nonsense, and its absence; able coherence between meaning and its expres and must admit of a distinction

I hope to return of man.

to this


can is also a third condition it must meet. We or coherence, and of their different embodiments, speak as gestalts, or patterns in connection with such phenomena in or snow crystals, where rock formations, the notion of expression What is lacking here is the notion of a subject has no real warrant. 3) There of sense of criteria are. Without such a subject, the choice these meanings and difference, of sameness the choice among the dif can be identified ferent forms of coherence which in a given pat it can be seen, fields in which tern, among the different conceptual for whom
is arbitrary.

on the other hand, we In a text or text-analogue, make and this means explicit the meaning expressed, or for a subject or subjects. The notion of expression

are trying


expressed by refers us to

that of a subject. The


identification of the subject is by no means as we shall see further on; it may be unproblematical, necessarily an area in which one of the most difficult problems, prevailing prejudice may blind us to the nature of our object epistemological And of study. I think this has been the case, as Iwill show below. of a subject does not assure us of a the identification moreover, as and expression clear and absolute distinction between meaning even a relative one, is we saw above. But any such distinction, without subject. The sense, subject. ii on to see in what way, if any, these condi going are realized in the sciences of man, I think it would be useful it matters to set out more clearly what rides on this question, why or not we think of the sciences of man as hermeneutical, whether Before tions what an epistemological one. But it is cannot but be one, and, hence, to our notions relevant of science and of the proper conduct of We might has issue which say that it is an ontological inquiry. ever since been the seventeenth in terms of century argued considerations which have appeared to some to be epistemological The

any anchor object of

at all,

is totally of




to a

a science from


must thus have: interpretation for or by a which is its expression,

the issue is at stake here. issue here is at root from an ontological inextricable

The case could be put in these terms : what are the criteria of in a hermeneutical science? A successful judgment interpretation clear the meaning is one which makes in a con present originally form. But how does one know that this fused, fragmentary, cloudy sense of is correct? it makes because interpretation Presumably con text: what is strange, mystifying, puzzling, is no longer so, is accounted The interpretation for. tradictory to our understanding of the "language" of throughout appeals which allows us to see that this expres expression, understanding sion is puzzling, to that other, etc., and that it is in contradiction the original that these difficulties
in a new way.

are cleared

up when

the meaning

is expressed

6 But this


seems to be crucially appeal to our understanding if someone does not "see" the adequacy of our What inadequate. does not accept our reading? We try to show him interpretation, non- or partial sense. sense of the original But for how it makes him must hence what the to follow us he must these recognize be looking can we do? same. We as we do, he read the original language as puzzling in a certain way, and expressions to our problem. If he does not, for a solution it would The answer, seem, can only be more of to show him

of other the reading through in the way we pro be read this expression must why expressions that he follow us in these other But success here requires pose. We can forever. and so on, it would seem, potentially readings, of the to a common not escape an ultimate understanding appeal This is one way of trying of the "language" involved. expressions, have we circle." What to express what has been called the "hermeneutical a certain reading of text or expressions, are trying to establish is for this reading can only be and what we appeal to as our grounds The circle can also be put in terms of part-whole other readings. a reading we are trying to establish for the whole relations: text, and of its partial expressions; and for this we appeal to readings are dealing with meaning, with making because we sense, yet sense or not in relation to others, the where expressions only make on those of others, and of partial depend readings expressions of the whole. ultimately convince in forensic terms, as we started to do above, we can only an interlocutor if at some point he shares our under If he does not, there is no concerned. of the language standing we can try to awaken further step to take in rational argument; in him, or we can simply give up; argument will these intuitions can But of course the forensic predicament advance us no further. Put

to if I am this ill-equipped into my own judging: be transferred how a stubborn how can I convince myself? convince interlocutor, or distorted, maybe are wrong can I be sure? Maybe my intuitions into a circle of illusion. to this would the only sane response one, and perhaps is an ineradicable be to say that such uncertainty part of our it as "un That even to characterize predicament. epistemological severe criterion of "certainty," is to adopt an absurdly certainty" of any sensible use. But this has not which the concept deprives Now I am locked

the attraction of the notion of as a is viewed ideas. of meaning. which has by definition in it of reading or interpretation. which ambition The highest would be to build our knowledge from such building blocks by could be anchored in a certainty beyond judgments which subjec This iswhat underlies tive intuition. The datum. The demand has can only be attained by breaking been for a level of certainty which beyond the circle." is a genuine to go beyond the circle of our own interpretations. of a reading or intuition which cannot occurrence a single element a brute be checked. clarity which The other way. to get attempt is to reconstruct The attempt in beyond subjectivity. to true knowledge then repose crucially on the correct would path recording of such co-occurrences. carry with for instance. in which this break-out has been envisag There are two ways tradition. one and could be be called the "rationalist" first might in Hegel. to reach a culmination It does not involve a thought or of our understanding of intuition. block of knowledge basic building or sense-datum. which we can call "empiricist. it a grasp of its inner necessity. or if the same procedure If the original induction. knowledge such a way that there is no need to make final appeal to readings or judgments which can not be checked further. information is not the fruit of judgment then the the association of constatation that two such elements occur together need not either be the fruit of interpretation. No higher grade of certainty is badly is conceivable. but negation of such clarity rather aspires to attainment of an understanding ed. of the units of method. That is why the on this view is the impression.AND THE SCIENCES MAN INTERPRETATION OF been the 7 of our philosophical response only or even the main And it is another response which has had an important and far-reaching effect on the sciences of man. is a brute datum. For this aspiration the word "break-out" to an inner the aim is rather to bring understanding chosen. For if the of is then so is the co-occurrence of two such elements. The that Hegel's it would in case. our full understanding of the whole In This iswhat lies behind an ideal of verification which is central . such that carries with "thought" we see how it could not be otherwise. a unit of information which is not the deliverance no element of a judgment. acquisition or interpretation. is absolute. it the certainty of the undeniable.

to what which an some relation is not at all to. But this was a consequence to accommodate As which itself. may same Facts." Cambridge.. to be valid must themselves. Verification contemporary protagonists must be grounded in the acquisition of brute data. not least of which was the perpetual threat of and solipsism from a conception of the basic inseparable skepticism as brute data. the whole domain of inference which had been central to the logical and mathematical rationalist position and which at (with Leibniz another offered least. beyond investigation. The inferences be beyond to structure the argument be possible the basic. as to distinguish the basis of them. As a theory of perception. II. contrasted i. similarly of a rival interpretation.4 credibility If such then cannot be founded of a difference or undermined by further can arise over interpretation so on given data." Imean here and throughout validity can not be questioned or reading. but "On Brute Anscombe. it was considered co-ordinated Of the logic of verification. as easily are cannot behavior. data here has facts" discussed the existence of certain institutions. by Elizabeth and John 1957-1958. Liberal. a place in the sense used in the category and thus find of political here. another by offering interpretation data whose reasoning. brand not with although of unquestionable Hegel). logical empiricism was willing in a theory which could not be rigorously for the surplus meaning to be quite outside with brute data. 69-72. pp. mathematical in such a way that two theories or more could be combined to verified of the same domain of facts. whose main tradition are the logical empiricists. What in terms be described data of brute facts presuppose be the institutions themselves. some example. were and empirical verification inference course. would Analysis. the discussion below in part II. be called to use Searle's 'institutional facts'.e. data of knowledge As a theory 4 the The as notion the of brute "brute v. certainty. ultimately By data whose "brute data. Cf. pp. 18. Voting see below as we in part shall institu But. . this epistemology gave rise to all sorts of problems. Speech For 50-53. Anscombe and brute facts are Searle. Searle. brute data from the inferences made it must of course. the challenge Here the logical added to the armory of traditional which empiricists empiricism set great store by the method of induction.8 CHARLES TAYLOR to an important in the philosophy of science. as X's having can be verified as brute tional such voted data facts. 1969. Acts. term.

course. can be plausibly reconstructed since it epistemology. dure. might Later say obses I would like as for instance is far from the only case. And. Cf. a boom of computer-based of behaviorism is being replaced by bias?one sciences. however. an earlier vogue where said to be in their "infancy. argues proce Minsky explicitly or no longer can intuition is one which requires interpretation. the empiricist orientation to a conduct of inquiry which must is based on inter be hostile and which encounters pretation. the actually of what function. The form this epistemological for different sion?takes is different to look at a particular the issue case. discussion by a machine. of the to reconstruct has been overwhelming the temptation or rather to launch them in of man on the same model. since they are constantly lines of inquiry that fit this paradigm. by stance goes to under From this 5 1967. the study of politics. N.AND THE SCIENCES MAN OF INTERPRETATION 9 it seems largely a thing of the past. the ontological and standing belief that explanation verification the epistemological must be susceptible reality science so understood. in spite of perception.5 to this The progress of natural science has lent great credibility on this model. was characterized above. . But in general. in the in the Anglo-Saxon world of a surprising recrudescence But there is no doubt that it goes marching 'thirties and 'forties. where can be followed out. of computer-influenced on machine-recognizable as consisting of operations intelligence which be matched could themselves which by programs input The machine criterion provides us with could be run on machines. which in M. models. as a theory of how the human mind and on. period has seen a better. J. This the hermeneutical cannot meet circle as this of es the requirements it considers which intersubjective. Minsky. sciences has been done by the logical empiricists. among other places. non-arbitrary And along with sential to science. Computation. Cliffs.. more contemporary is about in the form this epistemology rigorous These try to model theories of intelligence. human In knowledge a sense." Psychology. Englewood where that an effective 104-107. be realized pp. statement or interpretations an appeal to intuition our assurance against cannot be understood which operating by fully explicit procedures on brute data?the input.

opposition science as to bring far as out fully what waverers is involved is concerned. above. that argue we cannot come to understand of human life important dimensions set by this epistemological within the bounds orientation. that these notions about the sciences of man are sterile. is surely worth a thinning of the ranks?at least in philos iii on to look at the case of political science. and to make the notion of our explicit allows This thesis. a certain meaning for a person. On What Iwant to claim of in terms of the notion is that the issue can be fruitfully posed as I began it to outline interpretation the question I think this way of putting is useful because it us at once to bring to the surface the powerful epistemo view of the sciences of the orthodox underlie logical beliefs which man in our academy. having Now it is frequently that "meaning" is used here in thought a sense which is a kind of illegitimate extension from the notion of an extension or Whether it can be considered linguistic meaning. many.10 follows must be. we above? The answer . an action. would like to including myself. This the characterization which a prospect a demand. TAYLOR CHARLES a certain set of notions of what the sciences of man the other hand. This is of course familiar to all in at least some of its ramifica dispute tions. it might should we even pose the be worth asking another question: why are hermeneutical? the sciences of man What whether question us the idea in the first place that men and their actions con gives the conditions stitute an object or a series of objects which meet Before going outlined level or that of is that on the phenomenological of this for the purposes (and the two converge speech ordinary a certain notion has an essential of meaning place in argument) in is the sense of human behavior. epistemological predicament implicit in the opposing to the tradition of and shocking is in fact rather more way-out or realized the oppo than is often admitted scientific thought by It may not strengthen the case of the nents of narrow scientism. speak of a situation. in a hermeneutical but a gain in convincing clarity ophy.

those on those like color. a) it is not the meaning of the situation is for a subject: in Meaning for a subject.g. as well. but its meaning its meaning is for the human subjects.. sense are like those between in concepts are given their meaning concepts by the field so that the introduction set up together. a specific subject. that is. The relations communion). But this is not to say that its meaning. of a given predicament. And thirdly. substitutable substrate. of new they will alter the boundaries so the various of others. the two descriptions For. This means that there is no such thing as a single. trasts. descriptions terms of its meaning between for the subject. is a necessary There physical or all meanings are of something. b) Meaning this). we speak of the "meaning" are using a concept which has the following articulation. use of it would be very hard to argue that it is an illegitimate term. admitting a given between that is. defining which define in the other meanings element. Just as our color of contrast concepts and so on. a situation with in different the same meaning may be realized role for a potentially conditions. in relation to the meanings of other things. or "language in the language (e. a group of vacuo. word depends. c) things only have meaning in a field. shape). it may be without But on the other hand. The meaning of a on those words with which for instance. . action.g. there can be no of the other kind apply such (even we a substrate. unrelated meaningful and itmeans element. invoking. establishing between meanings in this a semantic field. But the relations are not symmetrical. or whatever?and two Rather we are dealing with separable.. that changes in the given tion to others. or perhaps what subject as When not humans might be reproached with though particular or realizing is of something. in terms of meaning the description cannot be unless descriptions or put differently. they are physically in one of which in it is characterized of the element. changes be identified except in rela Meanings and in this way resemble words. we can distinguish element?situation. on the one hand.AND THE SCIENCES MAN OF INTERPRETATION not But the 11 it certainly differs from linguistic meaning. meaning that the same meaning be borne by another may substrate?e. is another matter. it con can't define its place dimensions. it figures in (describ game" in the field can involve on those which "determinable" the activity ing.

inescapably An emotion in a hermeneutical term like "shame. but it is the meaning and it is about a world of of signifiers and differences. it is essential to this feeling's being identified as shame . that "shameful. referents. or a more and as with finer discrimination contrast. goals. have for us. are established provoking." "fear. That is. essentially or "humiliating." the determinable through are only available in a society which demeanors has." in of a field of contrast is fixed by the definition "green" so all these alternative term "color. sense?let us call sustain these hier in this of something. respectful. Our actions are ordinar by desires. sophisticated of our terms "red. "blue." and a certain mode of response. as deferential. or else "wiping of hiding out" the blot." sion. rifying. subject. it from linguistic meaning which guishes structure. mocking. dimensional is for subjects and in meaning Linguistic a field. solent." like "ter feeling? "posses "desire"?and our understanding of these terms moves Moreover.12 meanings that a subordinate's demeanor can CHARLES TAYLOR have for us. so other terms of culture. This distin has a four and not three which we There is thus a quite legitimate notion of meaning a situation for an agent. to the underlying of designating color language game responding ed objects is the archical structures thus Meaning is for a set of social practices which and are fulfilled in them. new possibilities are born. sought and explained ily characterized by the purpose our we describe emotions." The vocabulary defining meaning?words that describing linked with "attractive"?is that describing goals?"safety. a definition of the meaning desires is also things feelings. text of experience and behavior. use when we speak of the meaning And of our ordinary conscious that this concept has a place is integral to ness and hence speech about our actions." for circle. us to a certain kind of situation. cringing. But the language by which feelings. downright by a field of on our part. mildly rude. refers the instance. relations And cor types." of covering up. Once we are clear about the likenesses that the term "meaning" be little doubt into extension the product of an illegitimate misnomer." And as the meaning this range are altered. among other hierarchical of power and command. ironical. there should is not a this con it experiential meaning? in a field. oneself.

what it is like to be on the outside when we encounter not action. to remind ourselves. This is not to say that all behavior must "make sense. esteem each communication. even contradictory. here talked if we understand We have what kind about. But we can often experience ambit of certain common meanings." ifwe mean by this be rational. as we are talking . We why it was engaged sense of action when there is a coherence between the actions of his situation for him. relation to the feelings which to without reference a goal which can similarly not be understood is one which in question the "hiding" the feelings experienced: from an cover up my it is not the same as hiding will shame. and experiential meaning language of another civilization. of purpose. if only in imagination. a great deal of our action falls short of this and the like. hence about behavior the category of sense or coherence must apply in terms of meaning. goal. admire. and this must be distinguishable coherence. human Thus if we look at into their way of life. Plainly irrational action is But in another sense. exhort. as this was outlined above? science of a hermeneutical characterized be the object that the three characteristics There are. But does this mean that it can in terms of meaning. have sense or has: it must of a science of interpretation object from its expression. feeling. is being can only be explained by reference in turn cannot be understood to other concepts which ref without erence to shame. these concepts we have to be in To understand An emotion term like "shame" on a certain experience. to is and the disposition it provokes. behavior then we are looking at a reality which must be emotion." when we understand in. we can only understand what ismeant by "hiding" armed pursuer. which we blame. no way of explaining in other. can only catch on by getting somehow We accessible concepts. as action done out of a background of desire.OF AND THE SCIENCES MAN INTERPRETATION that it be related to this 13 and give rise to this type of situation in in its turn can only be identified But this situation disposition. by In the end we are in on this because we grow up in the other. to be within of feeling and situation the circle. we have to understand a certain language. to it. confusion avoid contradiction. action and but also a certain language of mutual just of words. this sense must Now insofar as action. We find of the agent and the meaning "made be for a subject. make sense of. more Here there is no translation. the feeling.

to other such readings. that sense should be characteristic. text and behavior science implicit in the notion of man with modifications. the "same" meaning In talking of experiential raises a difficulty. of sense one understands. between meaning and its meaning. can't be embodied have ameaning which But purposes. replaced in the interpretation by another text. and substrate. as valid. for instance. makes sense in this way through coherence of meaning and Making cannot but move in the meanings of action and situation. in another situation? the same meaning there Perhaps embody are some situations. and their relation If an or will not does not understand this kind of reading. what makes agree on what makes good good and these in turn are based on the kind function of one's readings. or analogue.14 his action CHARLES TAYLOR not be action full of of this It may puzzling until we find such a coherence. which is expressed. one has to a good explanation. in this difficult question fortunately For here we have a case in which is irrelevant for our between the analogy of a hermeneutical . interlocutor sense is a sense. action. terroristic acts designed to make propaganda of the deed. but then to appreciate behavior. but the adequate confusion depiction contradiction sense of it. sense is contingent on our reading of action and situation. for a is necessary This its embodiment? distinguishable a claim to make science of interpretation because interpretation lays a confused meaning be some sense in hence there must clearer. The text is important only applies is clearer. in no way implies that the bad to repeat that this coherence for an agent may be is rational: of a situation the meaning and contradiction. which before death. a hermeneutical that the account makes Our conviction circle. one which not replaced by another such text of behavior is The text-analogue When this happens we have revolutionary theatre. else the argument there is nowhere it accept sense of the a good explanation is one which makes Ultimately. can go. But or justified except by reference these readings cannot be explained to the whole. This immediately But how about the second from meaning a I mentioned that we can distinguish between above. given element in This carried the claim that a given meaning may be realized can always But does this mean that we another substrate. but differently. standing otherwise.

Which it may 15 of a society are supposedly shown up But this is not scientific understand perhaps be based on such understanding. meaning Experiential meanings are defined as words are in semantic fields.AND THE SCIENCES MAN INTERPRETATION OF which the hidden relations in a dramatic confrontation. and some which we do gladly take up can be judged inauthentic. an increased ability to iden can't draw a neat line between which this enables. nor can we force it on ourselves. distinctions which of the relationship is to from the above to the conclusion that thinking makes it so. of human these meanings and the related feelings. powerful of it. we often experience or others how in ourselves adequate a more of the emotions say. as simply describing as marking feelings. feelings. desires. But what definition was not mentioned above is that these two kinds of The range independent is bound up with and hence meanings desires. when we have two such utterly a text and a tract of behavior? Is the whole parison. thing not just a bad pun? This question leads us to open up another aspect of experiential which we abstracted from earlier. pre-existing vocabulary would be there without But this is not them. which from in turn is inseparable the distinctions and categories the language marked people by a given situation can find The field of meanings in which speak. an ac the question. or in bad tify and an altered ability to feel emotions The other simple inadequate model . even though or claim to be. achieving. Reading novel may give me the I had not previously of an emotion which been aware of. the level and type of culture. terms of com different clearly. vocabulary sophisticated our emotional makes life more and not just our de sophisticated because scriptions picture But we a good. in fields of contrast. since can be forced on us. There are two simple types of models of relation which could be offered could think of the feeling We here. but both are inadequate. But in science count. its place is bound up with the semantic field of the terms charac terizing aments . how we can even begin prompt might to talk of interpretation of expressing the same meaning more here. predic But the relationship involved here is not a simple one. aren't of each other. jump not just any new definition But this clearly won't do either. ing. emotions. the text-analogue is replaced by a text.

error about oneself it is also in some form neous this confused. Rather we make but they are not in principle wrong. And in doing this we self-interpretation by but to the stream of behavior look not only to the self-interpretation a historical it is set. But both have prima facie war the view that thinking makes it rant. for here the it is set to in which and the stream of behavior interpretation and not just one or the other. the simple correspondence view is correct. There is thus no utter heterogeneity of interpretation to what rather there is a slide in the notion of interpretation. just as self-knowledge is not If this is so. and admire a man who achieves this. moral that is. but the achievement correspondence At the same the object known. just an absence of correspondence. known about this. partly erro a correct one. Our aim time. inauthenticity. bad faith. nor Thus. gether.16 faith. it is about. neither so. is not that heterogeneous interpretation a self-interpreta for what is interpreted is itself an interpretation. of proto-"interpretation. incomplete. then we have to think of man as a self-interpreting He is necessarily animal. just as in interpreting in which document we is to replace have to place it in the stream of events which it relates to. or something of the kind. it changes change. repression as what a matter is is felt just as much of the quality of what is. an illicit. which There is such a thing as self-lucidity. It is an interpreta tion which in a stream of action." in which by the language This is in turn lives the agent and interpreted these meanings. so. CHARLES TAYLOR or just wrong-headed These judgments may be by others. self-delusion. points us to a of such lucidity means view. shaped This . it is of one's human feelings. for one is woven into the other. But then the text of our from what is interpreted. for there is no such thing as the of his interpretation structure of meanings for him independently of them. is embedded to the constitution tion of experiential meaning contributes which that of which we of this meaning. Or to put it in another way: are trying to find the coherence is itself partly constituted by self interpretation. effort to be lucid about ourselves and our feelings. one's situation in terms Already to be a living agent is to experience a sense can be thought of as a sort and this in of certain meanings. But of we are interpreting course the analogy is not exact.

that this sense be for a subject. But this account poses in a new light the question mention ed at the beginning can ever express whether the interpretation as the interpreted. human behavior are moved. is obviously met in this case. explanation reason to raise the issue and challenge the epistemological orienta This should out of the sciences of man. that this sense can be speak of its sense or coherence. who have goals and aspirations. so that we can speak of the interpreta expressed This and we tion as giving clearer The to what is only implicit in the expression third condition. But before getting a couple of drawn might help to clarify the issue with examples from a specific field. there is clearly a way in which the two will not be congruent. crucially out of phase with seen as action of agents who desire and Thus. that is." is one which "makes sense" of the behavior. means question to show that there is a good be enough prima facie case to the effect that men and their actions are amenable to of a hermeneutical some There kind. A interpretation to bring out what be said in the is involved great on to this. although who this subject is is by no an unproblematical as we shall see later on. it hermeneutical sciences of man. the explicandum. For if the is really clearer than the lived interpretation then it explanation will be such that it would alter in some way the behavior if it came to be internalized In this by the agent as his self-interpretation. sense of" is the prof erring of an "making seen that what is interpreted meets have interpretation. is. a hermeneutical science which achieves its goal. explicandum. of a science of interpretation: the conditions first. In this way the second condition of a hermeneutical science ismet. that we can and second. which shows a coher ence of meaning. attains way than the immediate or of agent greater clarity understanding must offer us an interpretation which is in this way observer. in another form. therefore. that of politics.AND THE SCIENCES MAN INTERPRETATION OF whole is then at a third level 17 we interpreted by the explanation proffer of his actions. the same meaning And in this case. offers a necessarily for descriptions in terms of meaning?what I have called purchase The norm of explanation which it posits "experiential meaning. would rule deal more must tion which .

reflex behavior.g. the appropriate The only ques time. of its psvchological homonym. actions are usually described by the purpose or end-state realized. some specified might for instance. they do arise they can be checked by relatively to vote for asking the subject: did you mean in what to be pretty and where ed with. or climbing in the garage the mountain. but?so it is something politics the requirements in politics the search cannot be challenged identification of which thought?the by the or reading of the data concerned of another offering interpretation This is what is referred to as "behavior" in the (pp. Political behavior includes what we would call ac ordinarily but ones that are supposedly brute data identifiable. But for such brute data has not gone to it has in psychology. But the purposes of some actions can be which meets be thought to be brute data terms. acting simply emitting of his movement. Any worries turn out generally are concern in the contexts political scientists artificial e.." properties.18 TAYLOR CHARLES II i In politics. Others have end-states which are closely tied by institutional rules to some unmistakable I raise my hand in the meeting at thus. the motion? . the was aware of what was as against he was agent doing. the lengths which where the object of science as behavior has been thought of by many qua "colorless move or as machine-recognizable The tendency in ment. How tions. given or the realization movements are whether of such end-states. end-states. has been to stop with less basic. 7-9 above). knew the institutional significance on this score etc. the goal of a verifiable on features which can supposedly in ab be identified or not understanding from our understanding experiential us call them brute data identifications?are These?let meaning. can this be so? Well. centration straction science has led to the con too. simple devices. have physical like getting the car actions. rhetoric of political but it has not the rock bottom quality scientists. tions we can raise about the corresponding such actions. when physical movement. what enable us to break out from the hermeneutical supposedly circle and found our science four square on a verification procedure of the empiricist tradition. I am voting for the motion.

For it can be thought in the brute data sense that men verifiable It is in such agree to subscribe or not to a certain form of words (expres or to reaction sing a belief. of politics on another confined to such acts would actions also have level these for the agents which is not exhausted in the brute data meaning and which is often crucial to understanding why they descriptions. dicating public morality. I am also saving the for the motion in voting Thus. or defending the value of free speech. and it is difficult to conceive of politics which it." gives can relevance which there are some acts of obvious political Thus. goals. as killing. deal with the meanings which inform political action. appear that there are actions which fear of interpretative and this is what identified beyond dispute. or symbols. Let us say we are trying to interpretive the goals and values of a certain group. or agree or not with the proposition that some act is right or wrong. rules. and confining and streets. such sending tanks them to cells. or express a positive negative certain events. be specified thus in physical terms. honor of my party. for the category of "political the foundation behavior. his "values. . doesn't come to grips with Behavioral science comes to grips with it by taking political the meanings involved in action as facts about the agent. An immediate will If we are trying to objection springs to mind. understand or grasp their vision of the polity." as the term is frequently used. notably But of course be much a science For too narrow. as just We can thus get at meanings form of brute data by the techniques another of the opinion survey and content analysis. his beliefs. the stringent The latter class requirements for study in recent decades?most has provided matter particularly in the case of voting studies. seizing people can be specified from is an immense ran. his affective reactions. much terms that the agents talk about the motivation of a science of their political action. evaluations. are meant to express different which beliefs. we might to probe this by a questionnaire try asking them whether they assent or not to a number of propositions. then surely acumen is unavoidable.?-e of others which such as voting acts by institutional for instance. or vin or saving civilization from breakdown. say) . were done. physical can hope to These can be the object of a science of politics which into the there meet of verification.OF AND THE SCIENCES MAN INTERPRETATION 19 can be it would Hence.

can be chal involved. tially endless. Ideology 1964. v. of this mainstream reply with a stand social made the process of distinguishing from the logic of verification. pp. about data at this these meanings is poten level. can be defined in addition to those overt acts which or institutionally. it is our under discovery of these meanings which enables us to draw up the standing which will test people's in respect to them. Of course. of course. knowledge or hunch. We behavior. the finding of our study.20 But how did we CHARLES TAYLOR How did we pick these design the questionnaire? Here we relied on our understanding of the goals. H. or or expressions not of verbal formulae in speech. is without for understanding the agents or the polity concerned. vision and lenged." . A good interpretive value to the background reasoning on the right correlations nose may be useful to test. but in hitting science is never called on to arbitrate the disputes between inter pretations. or of approval 6 American Cf. in American 361-382. or for that matter by critics of mainstream science in general. the assent discover. But then this understanding our results hence the significance of questioned. propositions that people who in a certain set of And.6 tions supposedly expressing no matter what one is a firmly verified correlation This finding thinks or simple hunches. significance This kind political To this the proponents move ard of logical empiricism: of attack is frequently science. What is firmly verified is the to certain for instance. every affirma But this has interpretation. attitudes questionnaire interpretive dispute there are no brute a rival science. the category of political can behavior physically or the occurrence include assent or dissent to verbal formulae. Political established ing it does not give a truth ismade up of such correlations. Thus. Political Science "Consensus Review. and 58. tion can be challenged by to do with verifiable nothing set of correlations and certain are active between. (defined by participation politically are more to certain sets of proposi institutions) likely to consent the values underlying the system. propositions? values. the compiling of proportions of Perhaps assent and dissent to these propositions is irrelevant. that went into design science as a body of the research which it. say. Politics. of the reasoning. McClosky.

how interpretation-free it from another angle. beliefs. rioting they recover a sense of dignity in insurrection?). attitude. this is given subjective affective reactions. tions which individuals beliefs reality. is held is belief. Social reality described could disputes by brute data out of blind anger. and . social reality is. opinion.g. and the fact that reality.OF AND THE SCIENCES MAN INTERPRETATION rejection of certain behavior events (for or measures instance. (e.g. pretive But These make or have about or in relation to social or reactions can have an effect on this reality. because to redress humiliation. One of the basic question of this kind of social science is that it reconstructs certain These allow can be made to in all sorts of question it is in fact. Now the way this is defined and studied illustrates the categorial clearly principles For instance. social such a belief is held is a fact of objective for the actors. certain values with certain institutions. along with certain acts. identifiable certain It actions. as the psycho allows for beliefs. institutions. And it allows for correlations of individuals. of as a brute datum. belief. there are certain beliefs. procedures. that certain beliefs go subjective acts and etc. But I would like to characteristics reality in line for an inter with categorial principles. that is. To put it another way. in quotes and attributed placed.. since it is redefined as the respondent's thought giving a certain answer to the questionnaire. but recently the agents has been taken up in a number it has been spoken of in terms of political culture. Thus any up of brute data. the social reality which can only be made reactions of reality in terms is only allowed question description is the object of these attitudes. That this opinion. what is objectively (intersubjectively) This is what real is brute data identifiable. affective evaluations reactions.. logical properties between these two orders or reality: e. social reality which is made up of brute data. political culture is referred to by Almond above. as observed in institution out for a demonstra turning which 21 ally-defined tion) . Now there this notion ways are a number of political of objections one might behavior. of meanings is open to inter which if it is into this scientific discourse as their to individuals as it were. such that in terms of its meaning arise about interpretation be settled which couldn't or are they are people rioting to get a hearing. etc. evalua reality. concerns This aspect of social reality which its meanings for of ways. structures.

are to this work. our society recognizes The language of states or actions like the into negotiation. following: entering breaking offering to negotiate. off negotiations. leaving a certain form of words. which as opinion. making negotiations. below A. allow for are inter subjective meanings. These identifications of a language of social life. counts as breaking off saying or writing the negotiations. etc. the room. out. that is. that Iwould this exclusion like to challenge in the name of another set of categorial principles. and gives meaning to political underlies actions" The (50). Boston 1966. it is Now attitude. relations. a language which marks application distinctions tures. hence not as brute data. Thus. and this set of epistemology. one's name on a piece of paper counts as writing at is what the petition. Approach. concluding In other more jargon Gabriel a Developmental text here and Almond and G. authors then go on to distinguish three different kinds of orienta and beliefs). it cannot allow for the validity of descriptions of social reality in terms of mean are not in quotation marks and ings. Bingham Powell. to individual(s). struc of breaking the example off negotiations above. (judgments From the point of view of empiricist affective (feelings). etc. 7 in good negotiating a new offer. a quite other epistemology. putting one's name on a slip of paper and putting in this in a box counts as voting the right context for that person. is worth But what signing looking are the underlies this set of identifications. (bad) faith. attributed etc. inspired by ii We of acts by spoke earlier about the brute data identification means a cross beside some of institutional rules. and Toronto. Page Politics: Comparative references in my . Let social among different possible But what underlies this language? us take acts. pattern of individual attitudes and orientations towards politics among the members of a political It is the subjective realm which system.22 Powell tem" 7 as CHARLES TAYLOR the "psychological dimension of the political sys on they state: "Political culture is the Further (23). tions. cognitive (knowledge evaluative and opinions). Both reality and the mean leaves nothing categorial principles But what it in fact cannot ings it has for actors are coped with.

Smith. We might to describe the heavens for instance. vocabulary they lack. Our whole But of course this is not true of every society. and some kind of adjustment our idea of bargaining. parties nor does a series of distinctions. has no place there. they lack. This ford. the distinct notion of negotiation is bound up for instance with distinctions in different of the parties. that of Newtonian as we do. negotiation. as we do. selves. type of consensus for instance. or whatever The word. which by the distinctions ours. Discussion differences. 5. word of their bargaining must have an entirely dif language we translate as "bargaining. that they live under the same heavens it only understand But it is not true that they have the same kind of differently. Thomas ch. viz. of its social life was a powerful Japanese village that the foundation a high premium on unanimous deci form of consensus. Such a consensus to separate out. But intention Now of seeking agreement). which put 8 if two would be considered shattered sion. that we have a vocabulary that for here we assume mechanics. by a certain set of distinctions activity is carved up in our vocabulary marks. the difference between our society and one of the kind if we said we have a could not be well expressed just described to describe negotiation which say. the desa Cf. notion. of our language distinctions is the nature These are applied in our society with more or less formalism contexts." is marked their vocabulary ferent gloss. 1959. into and leaving like entering or bargaining the genuine in good faith with (sc. . and the shape and nature of these which in this area. of with the assumption distinct autonomous inwilled relationship. to those marked in contrast But this different allows by The Agrarian C. in other found traditional Indonesian village. pursuing parties were opposed clearly articulated or push it aims and attempting either to vote down the opposition on the most terms for them into a settlement favorable possible of there must be. system 8 Origins is also of the Stan of Modern Japan.AND THE SCIENCES MAN OF INTERPRETATION infested 23 the semantic language.. societies. "space" of this range of social a certain way. But other societies it is a very contractual It is reported about the traditional have no such conception. Cf. with the willed nature of and autonomy identity their relations.

and be identified in abstraction from the language we use or invoke them. but CHARLES TAYLOR also one of social as a way of putting be misleading the differ that there is a social reality which can imply be discovered in each society and which might exist quite independ of that society. But this still may ence. or into or breaking off negotiations. And this is not the case.g. The language is constitutive of the reality. that is. There is no simple here. entering presup for us. That the them. e. of negotiation allows us to distinguish in good practice bargaining or bad faith. or carry them out. of this or some related vocabulary.) The situation we have here is one in which the vocabulary of a given social dimension is grounded in the shape of social practice in this dimension. e. be it perhaps a difference appropriate these or dialect. if not in our expressed we may as yet be unconscious of the practices of (for descriptions some of the important in the appropriate distinctions) language for carrying them on. the realities here are practices...g. prevalence This type of relation has been recently explored. For it might between by specific descriptive expressions. terms or their equivalents for the distinction will be marked is by the different language which in one context and the other. by John of style. the vocabulary wouldn't make sense. To separate the two and distinguish them as we quite rightly distinguish the heav ens from our theories about them is forever to miss the point. parties entering to describe But how have these descriptions for us unless this is some in our vocabulary of this practice. but really what distinction between social reality and the language of description of that social reality. even though the distinction is not designated they cannot these cannot reality.24 gloss is not just a difference of vocabulary. the language marking public and private acts or contexts may exist even where are not part of this language. a distinction (Thus. poses that our acts and situation have a certain description that we are distinct into willed relations. couldn't be applied sensibly. We can speak of mutual if one-way dependence dependence we this points up is the artificiality of the like. is essential to its being the kind of reality it is. as the heavens would exist whether men theorized about them or not. where this range of practices didn't And yet this range of practices couldn't exist without the prevail. . or indeed of any ently of the vocabulary vocabulary.

of What Language. chess any longer. in question. 25 with As Searle points his concept of a constitutive rule. pp.. but this is not piece around Rules of this kind are constitutive rules. doing a or saying other things amounts to making negotiations. Cf. Some rules are like this. on a board made of squares 8 by 8. We is central to large of institutions in a democratic numbers is essential society. there are other rules of chess. Even in an area where the vaguer word there suggest 'practice'. an Essay Acts: in the Philosophy Speech 33-42. in Stanley the discussion Must We Mean Cavell. we are normally to induced to think of rules as applying out. would behavior a wood of course. Cambridge.e. that governing or imagines a state in which then the whole introduced. "j'adoube" when one touches a piece without are clearly regulative. Searle.g. are no clearly defined rules. 1969. doing new offer.g. chess playing. range of not be. constitutive that there are constitutive distinctions. pp. practices can reverse this relationship and say that all the institu We we live are constituted which tions and practices by by certain is thus essential to and hence a certain language which distinctions can take voting. or saying certain things amounts to breaking off e. in this case. which are in this sense inseparable text. suggesting in that certain are similarly inseparable. they have not If one suspends yet been these rules.9 or not the rule to us whether behavior which could be available existed. they are regulative like command ments: But there are other rules. rules such But just as there are constitutive could not exist without that the behavior them.10 such as that one intending to play say it. be the activity of pushing There would still. contrast which again.. are not so in chess. We Say? . 21-31. a practice which them. that this notion of the constitutive be extend I am suggesting That is why I ed beyond the domain of rule-governed behavior. What 9 J. rules i. By separable. 1969. and they govern so I am from that behavior. there are distinctions between different sorts of behavior the appropriate such that one sort is considered the other for another action or con form for one action or context. which the Queen's move e.AND THE SCIENCES MAN OF INTERPRETATION Searle. 10 New York. don't take the goods of another. ranges of language which are not without them..

just as the intercourse men or teams has to bear descriptions of a certain range before we is Or in other words. between in men's there must be a distinction self-interpretations and counting is to say that an activity of marking papers swhich a certain range to bear intentional fall within description of two before we can agree to call it voting.26 TAYLOR CHARLES to the practice of voting is that some decision or verdict be deliver some criterion a measure of (a man elected. or a norm of rational to one's goals correspond ity. a real choice and one which is forced between requires a distinction If there is not no amount or counterfeited. For no matter how that each man decide far we move from the Rous is a certain vision of the agent implicit in these practices to others and to society. behavior. and as entering into willed parties it certain implicit norms. saw in connection relation We a picture in our society that it requires with negotiation of the as in some sense autonomous. relations. From raising hands. that some practice will call it negotiation. preponderance (the votes of the citizens. being elected. passed. Hence and his has to do in part with as appropriate for engaging the vocabulary in it or describ autonomy This and forced choice. or or a measure and their failing of election. in a sense recognizably For there to be voting choose. as far as attainable. the sense of of autonomy The experience societies. some such significance to our attached of paper. the very in full autonomy. and counting of marking pieces out into lobbies amounts to voting. (simple majority. nor do they understand norms these in all societies. and rationality.. through passed). walking of voting must be such that cer this it follows that the institution someone that between have application: tain distinctions e. good faith. or what two-thirds majority. has or negotiation voting in a society established ing it. that agreement or the norm of continued freedom of action These as far as attainable. MPs. and relations be seen in practices require that one's actions the light of this picture and the accompanying norms. ever) out of a set of micro-choices ed delegates). And this picture carries with such as that of good faith mentioned above. in this But men do not see themselves autonomy. seauian notion sense the enfranchised institution of the vote requires that in some like ours. in all way as we know it. a valid vote and an invalid one which in turn that between passage. .g.

g. as a set of individual actions. in the normal some multi Perhaps or multi-tribal states approach racial this limit. Some multi national states are bedevilled cross-purposes. the condition Whether there is consensus of there being either one or the other is a certain set of common terms of refer ence. have a given set of ideas of goals. The meaning of these terms is opaque to them because they structure of experiential have a different open to them. not The meanings in the minds of practices but which just in the practices themselves." on heading or of attitude. my by consistent own country. A society in which this was lacking would not be a society sense of the term. But the two are not the same. matrix in which individuals find themselves and act. meaning We can think of the difference between our society and the sim in this. but rather inter subjective political that the people in our society all or mostly in their heads and subscribe to a given set are and norms implicit in these practices the actors but are out there cannot be conceived which are essentially modes of social relation. The social the "consensus. They bring these with them into their and strive to satisfy them. e. actors may all sorts It is not just meanings. even if others share them. of mutual action. or feel resentment goals at certain things. But what we are dealing with here is not sub can fit into the categorial grid of behavioral which jective meaning science. or not.AND THE SCIENCES MAN OF INTERPRETATION rational them. they do not is the set of ideas and norms con into the negotiations bring stitutive of negotiation common themselves. to certain policy subscribe they may or certain forms of theory about the polity. but rather meanings.. plified version of the traditional Japanese village as consisting to the members of the two societies that the range of meaning open is very different. certain basic matters. but several. are constitutive which of the social intersubjective meanings. These must be the of the society before there can be any question of anyone property or not. are not subjective into negotiation Hence entering they the property of one or some individuals. The have of beliefs and attitudes which may be rightly thought of as their individual beliefs and attitudes. 27 are unavailable to action and the satisfactions thereof. as a convergence But consensus of beliefs or values intersubjective are often action are the background which meanings treated by political scientists under this is meant of beliefs convergence By to . But what negotiations. and so on.

convergence a common can be these beliefs can be opposed. profound are a condition of a certain kind of very intersubjective meanings or the such as was visible in the Reformation. This is a dramatic of autonomy. When we speak of consensus we speak of beliefs and values which could be the property in ter subjective person because We or all. that of negotiations. are really talking now about subjective beliefs and We situation. where is at fever pitch just because both sides can fully understand dispute the other. of belief or attitude or its absence In other words. formulate opinions We can see this in connection with the example we have been The vision of a society based using all along. the ideas and norms individuals.g. or many. interiorize e. attitudes. a common of how much beliefs converge is the question they have these beliefs are in which of social and political language reality cannot be reduced to the first." But this cleavage takes place in the ambit of this inter-subjective . This second question expressed.28 is not TAYLOR CHARLES the opposite of this kind of fundamental Rather diversity. in their social relations. beliefs or of converging inter subjective meaning is not a matter values. they are mere in the original these ideas and norms are rooted society. cleavage. but of a single person. To put the It is part of the intersubjective meanings.. can perhaps see this if we envisage the situation in which could This a practice are the property of single underlying from is what happens when single individuals one society the notions and values of another. practices. on negotiation in for heavy attack by a growing is coming segment as are the attendant norms of rationality of modern and the youth. in missionary Here we have a totally different children schools. cleavage. is a high degree of inter subjective mean of diversity this can go along with Indeed. formulations is rooted in its in any society in which language and in which these formulated. definition failure of "consensus. profound the opposite And ings. of this common Much language institutions presupposes it is constitutive and of these institutions and practices. of a single not be the property meanings they are rooted in social practice. American or splits in left wing Civil War. Whereas social "ideals. of how much people's apart from the question point another way. the parties." The ideas are abstract. and are that on the basis of which they can and ideals.

what because it is is rejected part of a social practice which we find it hard to avoid. once we accept a certain set of institutions tices as our starting point and not as objects of further questioning. of the meanings these underlying someone an alternative is open to question practices by offering The negation of this is what was meant as brute interpretation. We have to admit that intersubjective social reality has to be as subjective that meanings partly defined in terms of meanings. the social 29 as it is lived in our of negotiation practice have the bitter quality wouldn't it has if rejection society. that we can easily take as brute data that certain acts are judged to take place or certain states judged to hold within the semantic field For instance. subjective meanings?beliefs. which constitute or prac We can allow. data. are not just in causal interaction with a social reality made up of constitutive of social the basic or signed can . For these meanings do not they require are not subjective beliefs or values. look so "unreal" to outsiders. were not understood in common. are expressed con and descriptions which in the language society stitutive of institutions and practices. not rooted in practice. they the petition. the language. The other forms which have still the "abstract" that are subjective is what makes irrational. what which and hence sustain. grid political But social prac is brute data identifiable. so pervasive out for At the same time there is a reaching is it in our society. do not fit into the categorial This allows only for an inter of mainstream science. its lack. then go on to correlate certain etc.AND THE SCIENCES MAN OF INTERPRETATION meaning. of these practices. and so iii of experiencing Inter subjective action in ways meanings. in this sense. but are fit into the grid. that social reality is made up of brute data drop premiss For any characterization alone. the underlying meanings. But this means that we give up trying to define further just what and institutions are these practices the meanings are. the rebellion quality of ideals which which is. subjective reality which are partly constituted tices and institutions which by certain ways We have to under of talking about them are not so identifiable.?with this behavior or attitudes. that someone has voted Liberal. We In order to get at them we have to reality. stand them.

it is a consciousness we do each on his own. but understanding does this common reference world celebrations. but this may not be a common meaning. or less powerful set of common meanings. when We can speak of a shared belief. common reference world. there is between the subjective of many convergence beliefs. identity as franco is a common meaning of Qu?b?cois. in the sense almost everyone of being in in our common to a certain kind of feminine share a susceptibility society may It may be known beauty. to no one. in the world that this phenomenon again. as it were. But there is another kind of nonsubjective which is also often inad meaning earlier I was discussed the head of "consensus. we cannot really understand as convergence of consensus of opinion through the usual definition For what is meant here is something more and value. except perhaps market who play on it in their researchers." under In a society equately with a strong web of intersubjective there can be amore meanings. But it is part of the meaning aspiration. and not aspiration and all public life in the society. aspiration. of a common individuals. that it be not just shared but part of the belief. communication. is communally which act. celebration. Convergence is what happens when our values are . feelings. But the survival of a national advertisements. for it is not just shar phones ed. This is is a collective to be shared. actions. everybody and shares. aspirations. whereas is something sharing even if each of us is influenced by the others. etc. than con Once vergence. a a common to talk about gives jective meaning people language of certain norms. CHARLES TAYLOR data. its being shar ed sustained. reference but are also common world. points reality and a common common meanings only with common contain significant social These what are objects makes community. By these Imean notions are not just shared in the sense that of what is significant which everyone the We have been has them. Thus. etc. Or to put it another way.30 brute reality. are the basis of Common Intersub meanings community. of inter subjective meaning the question contrasting as convergence with that of consensus of opinions. but just known is one of the common reference a common its being of all debate. but that as inter subjective talking they are constitutive of this here of intersubjective And meanings.

confused Of of opinion. are quite But we could also say that common meanings shared. But what 31 for common meanings is required is that this that this sharing be be part of the common world. hence meanings. point the American is for example But this common in the USA. but part of the common world. understood in a and understood groups by different differently a common because there is the It remains meaning. Way. again. a common meaning comes this is what happens when cleavage. subjective Common . develop a severe who ed remain the new in the present one. the net of mainstream through They For they are not simply a converging set of place in its categories. are closely net of inter be a powerful There must interwoven. a high degree of for they can subsist with other than consensus. is very often the one might say that a common meaning Perhaps not be cause of the most It thus must bitter lack of consensus. can find no social science. when wither. common meanings and inter subjective meanings course. as we have seen. and this we are also seeing in the U. they of tend to grow apart and develop different the groups languages to share less intersubjective social reality.AND THE SCIENCES MAN OF INTERPRETATION shared. attitude. bargaining This has helped to entrench the social practice of negotiation which in this in ter subjective meaning. common meanings which On the other hand. can do through the kind of deep dissensus we described earlier. meanings. makes us participate But there is to this common meaning challenge today. fights today. type of society and those who had found as well as intersubjective fall ones. reference tion. Should those who object to it really succeed in building up a gap between an alternative there would those society. and the for there to be common meanings. common meaning in our civilization around a certain powerful vision of the free society in which has a central place. subjective meanings with result of a is the development as people live in com common meanings of powerful of intersubjective web meanings greater munity. to take our above example there has been a Hence.S. convergence value. is the common purpose. by in a society. or freedom as Such is differently meaning This is the basis of the bitterest different articulated groups. shared value to be lived society. What the reactions. which celebra aspiration.

totally in place be seen. defined by institutions clearly descriptions secondly. through an "I. Such and social relatedness which for agents of their own and others' action. in con is in the common world the very idea of something which seems tradistinction to what is in all the individual worlds it finds in must no now Hence to empiricist opaque epistemology. in fact and both theory. attitudes. deal with the meaning in which and of the social relations they stand. by probing justificatory it embodies. words. they are in no sense beyond challenge by those the self-definitions of agent. in some cases their overt non-verbal behavior. to sum up the last pages: tradition naturally of the empiricist tries to fulfill the requirements as consisting of brute data alone.32 TAYLOR CHARLES social science lacks is the notion of meaning of mainstream ontology of a subject who can be a as not simply for an individual subject. of the of this possibility. forms of as reality ex It in in What characterized cludes. What mainstream is. other definitions which . has to be recon all knowledge tradition for which epistemological on the individual structed from the impressions subject. to reconstruct social reality as identified These data are the acts of people sup (behavior) or by either by physical descriptions interpretation posedly beyond and and practices. But and that which individual worlds. our civilization. in the sense that this term is being used in this that is. imprinted this from the hold of these prejudices." Hence we need the distinction between we are through in the sense that each of us has it in our is just shared what is in the common world. do not in any sense record brute argument. excludes is a consideration and common inter subjective an attempt to understand such a central part plays of social negotiation meanings. data. which this by for instance. this results social science." The exclusion comes once again from the baleful of the influence communal. beliefs. "we" as well as an "I. or reality of individuals' they include the subjective to certain as attested by their responses values. But if we free ourselves of human view about the development implausible a "we" before we are aware of the world consciousness. a wildly Ill i a social science which wishes Thus.

fundamental different conceptions or even by those who the human condition. quarrel with in the I tried to adumbrate above the vision Thus. rather. and the categorial principles in terms of its intersubjective turn that a study of our civilization level of Rather this whole is ruled out. on this view that we which will allow us of different societies The between societies comparison a universal of elaborate vocabulary On the mainstream to present forms and the different in the same conceptual web. by those who human But have be challenged this reading will undoubtedly of man. practices Now present day political science is contemptuous of the older at comparative via a comparison of institutions. implicit to certain notions of autonomy reference of negotiation practice by and rationality. A similar point and shared goes for the distinction between common can hope to iden We if we take these in the subjective meanings. importance. can be chal our definitions are in a domain where We fication. a correlation to make of behavior which is brute data with do identifiable.OF AND THE SCIENCES MAN INTERPRETATION who would 33 our interpretations of these meanings. lenged by those with another reading. and common meanings study is made invisible. therefore. attempt politics . to have greater other features of our present predicament judge and have a science If we wish to avoid these disputes. of different the different practices and view. societies are not seen as related to different clusters of inter subjective or common meanings. as this is understood in verification by the logical empir grounded and hope then we have to avoid this level of study altogether icists. common are widely shared and genuine which jective meanings then we can no longer make do with brute data indenti meanings. we should them by different of "behavior" be able to differentiate clusters institutions and/or requires behavior subjective meaning. meanings of individuals tify the subjective meanings sense in which criteria for them in people's there are adequate or assent to verbal formulae or their brute data ^identifiable dissent such sub between But once we allow the distinction behavior. motivation. for the social scientists The profound option of mainstream it inevitable and science makes of knowledge conception empiricist science of political that they should accept the verification model in This means that this entails.

result appropriateness the Atlantic-type which of political development places achievement. identified But political focussed criticized the old institution strongly for its ethnocentricity (or Western comparative politics to understand the politics of all society in terms it proposes bias).lla But I would like to illustrate the significance of these 11 lla Mclntyre. cit. societies. Science of of Politics London." 1971.34 influential school to certain practices. to the different ways societies in according are carried on. is a Comparative the Self-Images Against Almond op. in Alasdair . that we interpret own. of such functions. Cf. as "interest articulation" and "in for instance. universal. in the categories of our all other societies viz. the Age." crucial that such functions be identified mologically independently are different of those intersubjective which in different meanings or for otherwise. might hold is not even suspected by mainstream scientists since political as that that there is such a level of description they are unaware inter subjective meanings which defines and are convinced that structures which and the various them can be functions perform "glossed" very in terms of brute data behavior. science. they will not be genuinely sense that the will be universal in the loose and unilluminating only can be given application in every society but with function-name same term being and often widely varying. Having aggregation" culture bargaining guaranteed is a theory terest is strongly influenced by the whose definition our civilization.. polity at the summit of human political can be said in this area of comparative Much (in politics in a recently published explored by Alasdair Maclntyre terestingly paper) . the difference in intersubjective the result of ignoring can be disastrous to a science of comparative meanings politics. to American this is what seems to have happened Ironically. Such are the "functions" " of the influential But it is episte "developmental approach. "How and Powell. varying meaning?the sets of practices and inter differently by different not The danger that such universality subjective meanings. is far from being but which of The not surprising elsewhere. to compare proposes which these practices An of our day has therefore or very general classes CHARLES TAYLOR shifted of comparison and practices. Possible?.

or that it is founded on or commands obedience These by its superior qualities. of paradigmatic definitions which cannot circumstances. discussion of . Machiavelli. enjoy an easier." can be easily understood. the full force of the term." fact. it could be considered significant of to the empiricist this paradigm. in terms data?a of the would whereby absence not ? la Hobbes?this definition legal restriction. of political question theory to understand what underlies this difference. meaning some of these terms as brute data. others. more cohesion which relies less on the use of force than spontaneous It has been an important others. mainstream scientists this approach Contemporary political use of the word here The question with the concept "legitimacy. But the application of the term is a term in which we discuss the its right to our allegiance. Aris Among de Tocqueville have dealt with totle. that it provides men that it emanates freedom. angle. that it secures them order.g. are all such that they rely on definitions of what is conceptions or in some particular or in general for men significant society tradition. their members. authority ever we conceive it can only be attributed of this legitimacy. Montesquieu. "descriptive" latter among legitimacy has been shifted. with which politics has been concerned that some societies since at least Plato. also contains an although I think interesting related. it. the rule of law.AND THE SCIENCES MAN OF INTERPRETATION two rival approaches in connection with This is the question of politics. How It is an obvious According the meaning to be utterly 12 "legitimacy" Maclntyre's from article a different. Even where identifiable be an "operational in terms of brute definition" be given might can be defined term like "freedom" for instance.. polity in the light of from their will. and in particular that carry for men. of such a term is labelled "evaluative" heterogeneous from the aspect of and is thought But aspect. 12 ii 35 problem "legiti another of what common is called area macy. to a a number of surrounding conceptions?e. are more societies which Those spon can be thought sense of to enjoy a greater cohesive taneously "Legitimacy" of the state or polity.

applied in connection can be used in the description not a word which to the conceptions according be used as a description only into but consideration or feelings the opinions scientific of mainstream social or can only be is "legitimate" of social science. they will be hence government will have to use then their conscience if they disobey. internally punished to use less external resources. 3). Cliffs. as subjective meaning is correlated with defined that legitimacy stability. goes with "Wertfreiheit" In any case. ." mate. this chapter." and deprivations. 14 New York. are to be manner of spontaneous and sense of community cohesion members the beliefs and feelings of their between by correlations towards them on one hand and the prevalence of certain indices of stability in them on the other.36 this analysis is far from firmly established. including in Political of Seymour Less crude is the discussion Lipset 14 But it is founded on the same basic ideas. the empiricist paradigm of knowledge itself to this paradigm bound up. whether it is "evaluative" because with definitions of meaning. comply understood and deprivations. A challenge to meneutical is also a challenge science "descriptive" and which "evaluative" and the CHARLES TAYLOR no more with so in fact than which it is closely in the name of a her between of entire the distinction conception it. brute data identifiable 13 Thus Robert Dahl in Modern Political Analysis (31-2) speaks for their in which of the different ways leaders gain "compliance" The more citizens because of "internal rewards policies. reality It can of subjective meaning. appropriate society" in a discussion of the determinants is engaged of Lipset He singles out two important ones in in modern stability polities. 1963. effectiveness and legitimacy. "Effectiveness means 13 Englewood Series. to of the system the capacity involves "Legitimacy institu the belief that the existing political and maintain engender ones for the tions are the most (64). Foundation Page references are of Modern to this Political Science edition. the But less leaders if citizens will bind need believe "external rewards a government is legiti them to obey it. viz. 1963. Man (chap. enters What is thus not the legitimacy of a polity of its member individuals concerning between different societies in their The differences its legitimacy. force.

).AND THE SCIENCES MAN INTERPRETATION OF actual 37 satisfies the the extent to which the system performance. basic has actually done. cit. or clericals. as most of the population and such of government functions or the armed forces see within it as big business groups powerful Thus we have one factor which has to do with them" (loc. social reality and what men tion between sees two types of crisis of legitimacy that modern Lipset more or less well. at first blush eminently sensible and wull designed to help us under stand the history of the last century or two. welfare. sees stability as approach which partly the result of legit and these in turn as resulting partly from the way the imacy beliefs. . Under the second head. concerns societies have affronted the status One of major conservative institutions which of modern the development concerns the degree to which political groups. whereas system for decades afterwards classes were more gently handled. cit. on these two of the determinants of a society's performance or not it is forced to affront the different conflicts heads is whether of democratic all at once or one at a time. legitimacy the stage is set by a distinc Hence from the beginning (Zoc. have developed kept out till quite recently. and have remained from alienated under the democratic the traditional willing formed managed in England . access to political life of different groups fare. But this approach has no place for a and common meanings study of the inter subjective which whether are constitutive of modern civilization.). sense of alienation from the system. seems status. whereas in others they have been political process a and consequently. themselves were and have been slowly integrated to compromise and trans into the new order. have tended to adopt deep to instability. threat The from second all political groups have access to the some traditional the first head. handled industrial may be under democracies." is evaluative" is primarily effectiveness instrumental. some societies to integrate the working class or bourgeoisie into the at an early stage. Thus. contributed and have generally ideologies. and the the government reality. process. think and feel about it. Another development extremist important This determinant One of legitimacy is effectiveness. And we may doubt we can understand or the cohesion of modern societies their present crisis if we leave these out of account. have been such as landed aristocracy roughly in a society like France. what objective "While other which has to do with subjective beliefs and "values.

g. successful as "ideologies" or widely classed social scientist's grid by being to account for class held "value-systems" or some other such concatenations of sub in account "ideology" societies has been that ing for the cohesion the vision of society as a large-scale of the society of work. such 15 or the draw of Germany's (Elie Hal?vy) newly century England to the These factors could be assimilated nationalism. simply or even of the speed with which this class was significantly perhaps most of the and the effectiveness the political process of access to the of the granting the consideration regime.. "ideology" above is that this definition of things. But perhaps the most such important of industrial democratic at first against anti-Corn solidarity. of course. which has been well 15 16 span/who social cohesion of Joseph then and in classes. This is the "ideology" integration directed polemically England campaigns with was of the working the which class the has frequently presided into industrial democracies. in quotes integrated Histoire The du Human au xixe anglais Peuple New Condition. enter are integrat in which widely of production different functions prise a vision of society in which ed into interdependence. over the tradition of Classical Utilitarianism. si?cle. and later with Chamberlain ("when Adam delved and Eve but later as a support for the gentleman").16 to life and happiness in far-reach what is indispensable producing labor ing interdependence. the reason for putting But. relations but above all with the (and in a sense not really with Marxism) that society in all engaged (to use Arendt's language). . political process invited by historians It is not just that we often find ourselves integrated into Rather in particular in terms of cohesion countries as the impact of Methodism in early nineteenth other factors. e.38 CHARLES TAYLOR of the working of the allegiance class Let us take the winning and early twen in the nineteenth to the new industrial regimes a matter This is far from being tieth century. 1913. "unproductive" the Law League. between is a fundamental solidarity In line with all members for they are this vision of there jective meaning. economic as it is not only in Marxism are considered as primary. York. as an independent variable may be misleading. Paris. 1959.

of it. But it can working* class in modern As such it can meaning. meaningful a the idea of making this way of life can only be accepted when than that of just avoiding with more significance living is endowed starvation. meaning intersubjective of social action as such. it Rather its general outline takes the distance. political it has when discussing like Lipset cannot take it into consideration this very problem. will be brute data . only be called a cluster of intersubjective and an not come into the purview of mainstream science. that and this this it is in the civilization of work of labor. as beliefs in the terms of mainstream be understood For the great and "values" held by a large number of individuals. In background need be an object of study. we wouldn't this matrix in that they are constitutive be able to live in this type of society unless we were imbued with could call forth the discipline and these ideas or some others which co-ordination needed voluntary have civilizations All industrial traditional for they sustained. rather is that it is re-interpreted. where (it is hoped) and this identifiable.AND THE SCIENCES MAN OF INTERPRETATION with 39 of social life as based on negotiation. rhythm. these ideas are embedded in society. cannot the conception social science. and but negotiating not as one rather recognized by political as the inescapable it no longer this guise to the middle of universal structures retreats role and among others. escape notice. of course. that is. relations subjective countries. in different have different which importance meanings to say is that it is certainly not implausible My point civilization some in explaining the integration of the importance industrial democratic societv. which actions for any within framework. level of disciplined unprecedented to operate modern entirely effort. a huge wrench from the required on which they have been imposed. What And what has happens author generally happened society structure is that has of been the interdependent productive science. is only one aspect of modern the society based on negotiation with and willed along and inter and other common (in Anglo-Saxon countries). peasant populations an require monotonous this kind of economy. long hours unpunctuated by any In the end such as that of seasons or festivals. Now societies. of labor is not just a set of ideas in people's matrix interdependent heads but is an important aspect of the reality which we live in And at the same time. fact doesn't such a massive But.

lr A secular empirical political culture an "ideological" is opposed not only to a traditional one. even more cit. which is not or ideological of traditional consciousness" is not in the mainstream which vocabulary). for its present specificity the weakness of this of this try to account strains in contemporary society. civilization when we The the rise 17 Op. to explain the rise of this even more painful becomes even crisis. secularized culture is one which depends essentially infected with culture the "false use a term (to which sees things as they are. as variants of the processing men in all societies can be understood is an important part of our political life. but also to which is characterized culture. iii as resulting of work. less on illusion. adjustment production on the basis of demand and support "inputs. intersubjective visible in the attempts already and its relation to others. malaise. The of "demands" which to recognize the specificity of our intersubjective meanings inability of North is thus inseparably linked with the belief in the universality or "functions" so much which vitiates Atlantic behavior of types comparative contemporary politics. by "an inflexible information" and "fails of political closed to conflicting life. of civility. image with full attitudes associated to develop the open." to describe "the emergence the concept of 'political secularization' to politics of a pragmatic. . the breakdown into which is translated of deep alienation. The notion is that what politics is the is about perennially or the of symbolic and effec of differences. orientation" (58) . bargaining here is that a The clear understanding secularization" (61). inability to recognize the historical But meanings. This way of looking at the civilization from the retreat of illusion before the correct perception of what and really is." The tive "outputs" of work is of the civilization rise of the in ter subjective meaning seen as the increase of correct perception of the political process and Powell introduce Thus Almond at the expense of "ideology. is thus closely bound up with the politics perennially of mainstream science and its political epistemological premisses resultant civilization's approach.40 CHARLES TAYLOR The view is then that the political actions of society at any time.

in terms of individual psychology. a malady of society itself. tend to shake the basic categories was quite unpredicted It is not just that such a development saw in the rise of affluence the cause rather by this science. in the Berkeley of social reality" "misperception of a generational in which conflict (pp. old or new. science hasn't the categories It is forced to look on extremism either as a bargaining gambit of the the ante in order to force a hearing. must be such that their arousal and satisfaction is to be understood rather than in terms of the inter in terms of states of individuals in which they live. raising desperate. in short "the end of irrational cleavage. they can But within this irrationality the accepted categories tagonists. alternatively. Now in the case of some of the ideology. a malaise meanings. of adolescence and adulthood. they tions must be in the domain of individual psychology. ideology. there will be little will be judged irrational by all but their pro disagreement.AND THE SCIENCES MAN OF INTERPRETATION destructive science. that is. These can only be interpreted of our social science as a return to within the accepted framework and hence as irrational. 1969. . more bizarre and bloody forms of protest. are being that heightened demands the hypothesis by accepting or else of "expectations. it is the be understood only public eruption of private pathology. cannot be a goal For prediction. It is rather that this to explain this breakdown. place a genuine historical accommodate psychology. New York. as we shall see below. psychology attaining first notes chapter a phenomenon the comparative which dates of self recency from the post Feuer defining generations." of social mainstream science as it is of natural science. an increase of tolerance. which a reduction of the bargaining of a further entrenching of culture.18 it cannot which be understood its constitutive as afflicts 18 Thus Lewis Feuer attempts student turn Yet to account in for the the uprising is rooted himself political in terms in his in The Conflict of Generations. For these latter have no subjective meanings to the eruption of new place in the bargaining desires which thus cannot in the categories of the mainstream. deliberately of the rebellion it can recognize the novelty Or. 41 of our social action. 466-470)." made on the system owing to a revolution or aspirations which hitherto had no But these new desires or aspira process. extreme protests and acts of rebellion But some of the more in as bargaining our society cannot be interpreted in the gambits name of any demands.

culture bargaining might ligible. is beginning of work and bargaining The structures of this civilization. the work psychological form of study of Erik . in America. psychology conflict has study in meanings. which these major But in changes contrast to the incapacity remains within the of a science which a hermeneutical science of man which has a categories. bargaining it did for man. to be felt not as normal their meaning and are beginning for many. is always in some real sense a self-rejection (in a society which never was). are beginning adjustment explore fruitful the civilization avenues. essentials social (as against production by future greater on the absurd in contemporary America. productive. we have Why at their face value. accepted can at least begin to meaning place for a study of intersubjective the discipline which was integral to Plainly to fail. which I believe psycho-history. and in a sense more and more ail-pervasively Hence the virulence and tension of the critique of our progresses. all caught in these intersubjective insofar as we live in meanings as it this society.42 TAYLOR CHARLES for No one can claim to begin to have an adequate explanation our civilization is undergoing. of this variant an to explain and many individual this historical would to and' been others. verges transformation) Suddenly the Napoleonic shift. intersubjective adumbrated era after have (p. and best suited to man. interdependent to change mutual of individual ends. to redefine our past We which were essentially its being in the process of build linked with as breaking with It linked men who could see themselves the ing. This is the starting point of a set of hypotheses which attempt in order to make our present and future intel think that the productive. bargaining. all underlies take a us attempt adequate the Berkeley rising the ambit of beyond of A the intrication of Erikson. for instance. this allegiance and which manded have now gone. If it was not. to build a new happiness But in all past to be attained the notion of a horizon that future is built. there was no offered in the past common meanings (even though and hence a basis for community. then we have to assume that while com for us which it also had other meanings hold our allegiance. to accept that they are not to be understood to be sufficient culture claimed The free. that the old socialist opposition way has this set of meanings gone sour? Plainly. to to But 33). work. And yet we are but as hateful or empty. place for them in its philosophy).

traditional But they might also help us who retained something why of more is in terms of look at this development sense of building the civilization their future through as having sustain men as long as they see themselves a millenial of injustice and hardship in order to past Or we can identity. Hence past. to the absolute monument in the lives of prosperous children). (the absolute values of freedom. is in some sense going first through this crisis of all that is. as is therefore experienced the relation to the earth as raw material to the but the recovery of a valid relation empty and alienating. lives which rather one can only the social world is distant and without shape. to the future and ones own death (the everlasting awaits shaping). earth. quali for their children. affluent. and there is no relation to the are caught in the web of meanings which have and absolute dead for us. it in ment. within which recover touch with the great realities: their parents have only a But to the future. world. goal. only because it is the most Atlantic nations. and they would civilization. perhaps help account for the fact that the U. of work broken create A can with to understand alienation . identity earth is the hardest absolute where we are mainly two hypotheses focussed on the crisis in U. gone and what must arise is an are in some way or another occluded.S. society can bargaining to the show not as a reality. All the require conditions tatively different ments of a humanly acceptable identity can be met by this predica a relation to the past. it by taking one's place in the future-oriented But this now seems without any sense. have been oriented wholly negated past. productive juggernaught. world (the interdependent to the earth (the raw material of free. insert oneself into thing once lost. productive which men). at some point the children will be unable to sustain this This effort has placed them in a forward thrust into the future. (one soars above it but preserves to the social world folkloric memory). not. enment-based only sustain sense of meaningful purpose that like so many other Enlight the free.AND THE SCIENCES MAN OF INTERPRETATION horizon which was which dreams man as a 43 essential would has collapsed. future. integrity. dignity). they are unable to reach and private haven of security.S. crisis of frightening proportions. it is has been more fully based on the civilization but more because These of work than European countries common meanings. productive.

the strain was also great. to grips with of breakdown this phenomenon by trying to under the common and inter subjective stand more clearly and profoundly of the society in which we have been living. But their aim was illustrative. much interest. not or could not succeed But for those who would in thus but always lived a life of strain on the themselves. of our society as though of all political action. psychological Mainstream above the science may thus venture but after its own hypotheses.S. which have been TAYLOR CHARLES but marginal in the greatest strain in some ways their identity was in the U. but they forced them the obstacles. has to be made between (rather the first social compact) compact to and no one knows where these groups and those they live with. and the new identity is sealed in the blood of the old. even without out foundation. because the basic and there are not yet of former life are being changed. .. Such are blacks antithetical These of French-speaking groups immigrant selves to surmount For many each in different ways. the new identity. transforming the breakdown of the central. to live a new and definitions images fully acceptable a new where In a sense we are in a condition social some hypotheses I have presented which may and they may indeed turn out to be with appear very speculative. it is an outbreak by some form of into the area explored by the fashion. powerful is the identity can be thought as a liberation a deep turn-over. the ambit But this we of mainstream they were Breakdown background inescapable in political is thus inexplicable terms. start. and is forced to look at the central ones to have the meanings. parameters defensive.44 most affluent severe among groups societies. by forcing facts of identity into the grid of an individual psycho-historical as subjective. be explained of irrationality which must ultimately illness. intersubjective meaning. claim is that we can only come mainly My principal In the last pages. by re-interpreting all meanings psychology. Canadians. and the community have had bargaining in living in this civilization while to it. For it is meanings no longer hold us. as it were. and to understand this change we these which have an adequate grasp of these as long as we remain within cannot do for it will not recognize social science. to of It trigger but at the same time it is deeply unsettling. in short.

But the conviction development sense of this history itself is founded on futher related read make is I said above on the identity-crisis which Thus. its most primitive have the three properties mentioned its object would the above: are for a subject in a field or fields. is that of the society or com the agent and his society. IV within It can be argued then. seem or practices. inter subjective change in social reality at the level of its constitutive meanings. which relies on readings. be a society or community. embody a certain self-definition. But then the difficulties which tion model foresee will arise. which munity. then it cannot but move mean A given reading of the intersubjective hermeneutical circle. . justment. the expressed or made explicit by a science of politics. in the traditional that epistemology are a severe handicap and prevent us from coming these restrictions to grips with of our day which should be the important problems of political science. to understand the We would be giving up the attempt theory. can thus be re are in this sense already interpretations. and secondly. are moreover meanings they are partially constituted which which meanings by self-definitions. If we that it does of that society. It would developed be readings of meanings. may institutions ings of a society. and common meanings embedded subjective in the sense that has But this science would be hermeneutical not be founded on brute in this paper. We need to go beyond the bounds of a object to one which would science based on verification study the inter in social reality. the proponents of the verifica has no have a science which in a brute data. perhaps and the to the theories of the authoritarian personality analogous would no longer be a political or social But this California F-scale. data would and data. a vision of meanings. that mainstream social science is kept are rooted certain limits by its categorial which principles of empiricism. but the intersubjective subject may as we saw. what ings.OF AND THE SCIENCES MAN INTERPRETATION The result might 45 be a psycholobical theory of emotional malad traced to certain features of family background. and which been In our case. or of given or the sense of these practices well it makes because founded.

But the ideal of a science of verification is to find an appeal beyond differences in discovery. but of interpretation. apply some formalized of a true or illuminat ceived as hermeneutical. indeed is unlikely to be ing theory may due to either of these. should not have Insight will always be useful to play any part in establishing ideal can be said to have been met a hermeneutic science cannot but one have the to make and sensibility to be able and comprehend the necessary In physics readings by which we can explain the reality concerned. but rather from a failure to grasp the mean ing field in question. an inability to make and understand readings the truth of its findings. and (perhaps understanding But in the sciences of man con language. We can only continue to procedure which we can fall back we are in an interpretative circle. offer interpretations. regardless that some claims level of insight. It requires that rely In other words. of the form: "if you don't .46 TAYLOR CHARLES sense and holds together generated by our society makes only if one accepts this reading of the intersubjective of our meanings and if one accepts this reading of the rebellion society. seem implausible. a certain measure of insight is indispensable. are not understood there is no verification by on. society by many young people sense together. For it means that psychology. on the readings. we might argue that if someone does not accept a true theory. this is not a study in which of their anyone can engage. But by on insight. and this insight cannot be communicat of brute data. against our the reading in terms of identity (sc. which are highly of those who of mainstream critical of the approach or political or sociology. the nonacceptance come from neither of these. This our natural sciences. reasoning to the authoritative this is a scandalous con But result according is shared even by many ception of science in our tradition. in a hermeneutical science. and the as a by the explanation or even more. science. so that in a two readings make crisis) . then either he has not been shown evidence (brute data) enough or he cannot understand not enough is yet available). It is unformalizable. of this field. These as a whole the explanation reposes in their turn are strengthened readings sense whole. or initiation in modes ed by the gathering of formal or some combination of these. But if these readings if they our interlocutor.

categorial presuppositions are not only important to us as scientists who some. But which the situation is graver than this.AND THE SCIENCES MAN OF INTERPRETATION understand. to "I don't there can be a valid response in intuitions doesn't to understand are self-defining . utterly different just divide different fundamental positions. The practical and the theoretical options a certain ex It may not just be that to understand here. it may be that one planation not in adopting another orienta has to change one's orientation?if own in a way which allows for greater tion. which we have accepted. for this gap is bound up with our in politics and life. divergent options some cannot understand We of a gap when the kind of speak as underlying which a certain others are proposing self-definition Thus some positivistically-minded society or set of institutions. joined one has to sharpen one's intuitions. of the hermeneutical is the other side. be justified. side over another will thus consist of one position in The superiority of this form will this." differences will be nonarbitrable by further evidence. will find the language of identity-theory thinkers quite opaque. is closely linked with the self-definitions which don't understand. one's that own one can understand the more position adequate stand and that of one's opponent. and some thinkers will not recognize does not fit any theory which with the definitions of empiricism. as it were. at least in living one's Hence the gap theoretical it also tends to divide of others. that some inadequate. If it is too simple to say that one help an "ideology" one subscribes which to. to constitute what we are. are inextricably in life. however we have come the self-definitions we understand What and what ones we self-definitions by them. weight a gap in intuitions. comprehension as they are hermeneutical in the sciences of man insofar Thus. but that each can only make appeal to deeper insight on the part of the other. science encounters Thus. it is only understands hard to deny that we have great difficulty nevertheless grasping are terms structure the world in ways which whose definitions different from. incompatible with our own. distant. then your some claims intuitions are at 47 are blind or fault. circle. self But are trying As men we for those in the superior position. a hermeneutical social reality. perhaps and we are partly what we are in virtue of beings. but not the other way can only have It goes without saying that this argument from around.

that we can speak here not only of error. Both make not see any limits to man's itself. can we not take our understanding of model. Our insightful understanding of our society will then serve to intersubjective meanings fruitful hypotheses. as the logical empiricists meaning and still found our science suggest for our unformalizable insights." "develop your intui This puts an end to science of man. are more hence than errors in this sense: they are sustained of which by certain practices they are constitutive. In face of all this. The answer is that if the epistemological views underlying the are right. it hence acquires the more substantive is provided second example by much in our society which in desperate search to see its situation in that of life purports in our is inseparable from an examination study the options between which men must choose.48 understand" tions. A aspiration "ideology-free" of some of "illusion" when we are dealing with speak than error. ability to transform a valid science of man impossible. elaborate but the proof of these puddings will remain in the degree they enable us to predict. such exact prediction science of interpretation is radically of the on the exactness of our predictions? . to single out as examples It is not implausible two rampant illusions One is that of the proponents of the can recognize nothing but either bargain bargaining or madness in those who rebel against this society. ing gambits Here the error is sustained of the bargaining the practices by of reality by the refusal to treat any and given a semblance culture. Lived out. "change or not only yourself. we might be so scandalized by the prospect of such a hermeneutical that we will want to go back to the science. error which in a sense builds thing of greater substance a counterfeit of its own. present society. but This means of the science of man of "revolutionary" activity for an alternative mode of an Andean guerilla or Chinese peasants." any CHARLES TAYLOR which takes but more radically to a value-free the form. society who protests reality on other of terms. We are also self-definitions which of those who meaning. interpret and inform their lives. this passes error to tragic illusion. But errors of interpretation of reality illusion. The illusion. verification Why as part of the logic of discovery. One illusion from the stage of laughable the other can cannot recognize the possibility of human variation.

The first a closed system. men is that ifwe are to understand second. the former. to them in the other. cannot human shared by life and meteorology. he has to be understood con can and frequently do produce in human history mutations the terms are incommensurable. that we shield a of human the psychological. and hence predict. say. ferent outcomes may eventually varying Hence than easy to be wide of the mark. more fundamental. ideas institutions. corresponding nothing in the natural sciences is bound up The success of prediction with the fact that all states of the system. that is. net can one the same conceptual under and future are brought variables. described can be all future states of the solar system as past ones are. can be as values. one in this sense. it is more reason for the imposibility But the third and most fundamental of hard is that prediction in his self-definition man With is a self-defining animal. in some circumstances. where webs which ceptual stratum of expressions. that only if past but it is a necessary prediction. certain domain events. economic. mentalness. man is. of exact This is far from being a sufficient condition mechanics. some primitive Each will be glossed in each society which have terms of practices. in the language of Newtonian characterized. a science of interpretation. But different At the same time way. Hence understand the states of the latter as some function of the states of of man by the reality. This conceptual unity is vitiated fact of conceptual innovation which in the sciences in turn alters human . we cannot achieve the degree by of a science based on brute data. of the same in the same range of concepts. to delineate from external it is impossible interference. political. such that in what go changes changes But the conceptual in different terms. 49 order of funda This.AND THE SCIENCES MAN OF INTERPRETATION impossible. lead to different predictions and these dif create widely futures. to a common in relation can't be defined in our society and in of bargaining The entirely different notions in ones provide an example. for three reasons of ascending one is the well-known "open system" predicament. of fine exactitude The data of The science admit of measurement to virtually any degree of cannot be judged in this interpretations nuances of interpretation different may natural exactitude. past and future.

formation. to do this we try to develop a language in which we can situate the webs of concepts. we strive ex post to understand and the changes. But hard prediction before transformed world. But there is a clear assymetry here. it is much easier to understand after the fact than it is to predict. and with including religion. Of course. Or often one has the sense of impending of some big re change. incommensurable We see the rise of Puritanism. to try to under it is possible the trauma has been resorbed. where (or not supposed events are said to be predicted from the theory with exactly the ease with which one explains past events and by exactly the same process. We this fundamental thus have a language to talk have of the transition. because the language. meaning just one a laughing makes stock. but from the study of in general. for that matter These two protagonists conception?or a language for each other: of condemnation "heretic. of the sacred category came the shift which human religion the detachment think how we acquired it. that amediaeval Catholic could have this a Puritan. culture of youth today. which to be) in natural there is not science. one lacks the vocabulary. as a shift in man's stance to the sacred. Really to be able to predict the future and would would so clearly the human condition that one explicited all cultural and trans have pre-empted innovation already This is hardly in the bounds of the possible. and thus. but is powerless to make clear what it will consist in: organization. And thus. But same seventeenth but unthinkable. Human science is largely ex post understanding. the development centuries. In human science this will never be the case. the Puritan of the sixteenth rebellion and of Soviet society." The place for such a concept was pre-empted by a After a big change has happened. one now has available the new stand it. This general is acquired not only from our experience of in the Reformation. for instance." only had "idolator. we a language in which we can express both stances?the earlier one and the Puritan mediaeval Catholic rebellion?as "glosses" on in which term. . ceivable. primitive came with which would It be con secularization. be to have Sometimes men show amazing prescience: the myth of Faust. etc. certain way of living the sacred.50 TAYLOR CHARLES The very terms in which the future will have to be characterized if we are to understand are not all available it properly to us at Hence we have such radically unpredictable events as the present.

error which is rooted and expressed in one's way of life. and what is they are founded on intuitions which worse are closely bound up with our funda that these intuitions mental cannot be "wertfrei'. their successful ly a similar point in Book I of the Ethics. such sciences we cannot of a science of verification: the requirements We have to accept that them by their predictive capacity. a premonition. Human There It is inescapably historical. But we breaks with cannot hide from ourselves held how certain commonly can not measure We notions guments ical sciences tradition. science looks backward. for they see in terms of the old language: Faust sells his soul to the devil. They are in no sense hard predictions. To say this is not to say anything new: Aristotle Finally. in the sense of degree of self-knowledge. . they are against moral understood. which era. But it is still radical to the mainstream and unassimilable of modern shocking McGill University sciences in a more radical sense than the eighteenth this option greatly our scientific about makes science. century prosecution requires a high a freedom from illusion. There modern 51 is treated several times at the beginning of the is a kind of prophesy here. sciences These options. hence incapacity to understand in what we are. judge all do not share. But these bursts of foresight is that they see through what characterizes a glass darkly.AND THE SCIENCES MAN OF INTERPRETATION for instance. for our is rooted in our own self-definitions. ar are thus good grounds both in epistemological for opting for hermeneut and in their greater fruitfulness of man.

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