Screwmeneutics and Hermenumericals: The Computationality of Hermeneutics

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Hermeneutics is the theory of text interpretation. From classical times until now it has been a central tenet of scholarly research, informed by both philology and philosophy. Hermeneutics as a theory concerns itself with the nature of interpretation, its subjectivity, historicity, multi-perspectivity, and its dependence on context. It is precisely these interpretative aspects of humanities research that are often felt as being at odds with the perceived scientific empirical paradigm found in computer science and software design. The digital humanities is a field where this clear tension between hermeneutical narrative and quantified patterns surfaces. This tension calls urgently for a fundamental dialog between humanities and computer science about the status of a hermeneutics as an imperative to humanities research, and about a humanities-informed hermeneutics of code, algorithms, and quantification.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA New Companion to Digital Humanities
EditorsSusan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)978-1-118-68059-9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • hermeneutics
  • scientism
  • algorithms
  • quantification
  • interpretation


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