Trying to get my head around Gadamer. When Barnard talks about Gadamer, he mentions that for Gadamer, understanding is the “fusion of horizons” between the person interpreting the work and designer(s) of the work. Because of this a professional woman in modern times may still have “ways in” to understanding the work of a serf in 15th century Europe. The theory seems to apply even if her “ways in” aren’t terribly numerous or strong.

The theory even applies (and almost, seems derived from the situation) where the interpreter doesn’t know anything about the creator and/or her intentions. It seems at moments like this that the theory asks as to examine the artifact alone and, in a sense, ‘create’ a creator. We do this by extrapolating out from the contextual information of the piece.

But, that presumes we can discern contextual information about the piece. If we cannot – if an object appears and is so totally foreign that we cannot place it in any context… is that when no understanding is enabled? What ‘happens’ at that point?

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