Hermeneutics: From Textual Explication to Computer Understanding?

Unknown author (1986-05-01)

Hermeneutics, a branch of continental European philosophy concerned with human understanding and the interpretation of written texts, offers insights that may contribute to the understanding of meaning, translation, architectures for natural language understanding, and even to the methods suitable for scientific inquiry in AI. After briefly reviewing the historical development of hermeneutics as a method of interpretation, this article examines the contributions of hermeneutics to the human sciences. This background provides perspective for a review of recent hermeneutically-oriented AI research, including the Alker, Lehnert and Schneider computer-assisted techniques for coding the affective structure of narratives, the earlier positive proposal by Winograd and Bateman, the later pessimism of Winograd and Flores on the possibility of AI, as well as the system-building efforts of Duffey and Mallery.