Accepted Paper:

'Nature itself cannot speak and say what it wants'  


Josette Jacobs (Wageningen University )

Paper Short Abstract:

Working together on complex issues is prominent in society. The question is: how will you do this? Mutual understanding is crucial to collaboration. In this presentation it will become clear what the link is with Gadamer’s idea about understanding texts and understanding nature and material things.

Paper long abstract:

In this talk the focus is on complex problems in society. Tackling these kind of problems is all about working together: the local communities, civil society organisations, researchers and students need to collaborate to come to a solution. I believe that mutual understanding is crucial to collaboration, and the master of understanding is the German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer. Gadamer was a great inspiration to me and led me to a new way of viewing collaboration. Gadamer was taking about understanding texts. How can we use that in relation to complex societal issues as the climate problem? Nature can't speak, neither texts can speak. I will make clear that the next step to experiencing nature is to interpret nature by giving meaning to it. This is exactly what happens in the process of understanding each other. When looking for solutions to the climate problem, we should focus not on nature but on the people who interpret it. Nature itself cannot speak and say what it wants. The solutions to complex problems lie in people themselves. My question for Don Ihde would be: how to deal with the different interpretations of material things?

Panel T153
Hermeneutics: 'let Nature and Material Things speak' with Don Ihde