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The concept of interpretation is at the heart of the TSSI (Temporal Single System Interpretation) approach to Marx's theory of capitalism, but was recognised long before TSSI drew attention to it. It assumes importance in modern thinking because of misinterpretation, a general trend in academic discourse whereby a legitimate theory of reality is discounted or suppressed, by falsifying what the theory really says.

A simple example might be the following: Alberta states on a blog that "nights in British Colombia are longer in the winter". Christa reports this as follows: "according to Alberta's theory of darkness, British Colombia is an exceptionally gloomy place". Dilbert rightly notes that Alberta's statement applies equally in New Brunswick. Engelbert concludes that Alberta's theory is wrong, because it asserts that in BC the nights are longer than in New Brunswick. Francisco then enters the controversy by claiming that for any given day of the year, Venezuelan nights are shorter than British Columbia's.

An interminable argument can then ensue involving prolonged studies of data on sunsets and sunrises, postmodern discussions on the meaning of darkness, scholarly exchanges between Venezuelan and New Brunswick activist scholars, and many revisions to darkness entry in Wikipedia.

None of these have any real bearing on the pursuit of truth, because Alberta did not say what Christa claims she said.

approaches to interpretation

How do we know what Alberta really said? There are a number of approaches of which the following is a summary:

  • Christa's interpretation is correct because she is a recognised authority on Alberta's works
  • Hermeneutics are a diversion
  • a proper science of interpretation is needed, in order to assess the validity of a theory