I took a seminar on TM as well... from Denny Schmidt at Penn State... :-)
I like to think that Gadamer moved Heidegger's work forward. Isn't that what all good grad students should do?
At any rate, yes, the circle doesn't close but renews itself so to speak as new understandings/fusions are achieved (and they are achieved if you consider the importance placed on conversation for Gadamer). For me the 'circle' is much better understood as a spiral that doesn't end... kind of like those tops that keep spinning and the circle keeps moving as it appropriates and renews.
I actually have a paper going on Vygotsky and Gadamer that I submitted to MCA... sent back because I need to work on internalization... one of these days. Perhaps you might be interested in some collaboration???
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Paul Dillon
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 5:21 PM
To: Culture ActivityeXtended Mind
Subject: RE: [xmca] Circle of Activity?
I totally agree with your identification of Gadamer for a good understanding of the concept of the hermeneutic circle. I took a seminar on Truth and Method in grad school. We spent several sessions on Gadamer's appropriation of Heidegger, especially in relation to the question of the horizon's that interpretation presupposes. As I understand it, the hermeneutic circle is never closed, in some ways reminiscent of GH Mead's "generalized other" or the Zen brush paintings of a circle, or even as Leonard Cohen sings, "there is a crack, a crack in everything that's where the light comes in."
--- On Tue, 7/14/09, Duvall, Emily <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
From: Duvall, Emily <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: [xmca] Circle of Activity?
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, "eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity" <email@example.com>
Date: Tuesday, July 14, 2009, 10:41 AM
The hermeneutic circle is tied to horizons of understanding and fusion of horizons. When we come to agreement between us (myself and the text in this case) then there is a fusion of horizons of understanding. This brings the circle of interpretation into play as we re-engage, so to speak, and work on the next/ new horizon of understanding. Gadamer (my peep here) would argue that there is a tension between the whole and the parts of the text with neither taking seniority, so to speak. I would argue, on his behalf, that the you cannot simply reduce meaning to the meaning within the text outside the reader. This would be Dilthey's fallacy.... there is a nice piece by Gadamer on this aspect of Dilthey's work but Gadamer addresses all of this in Truth and Method.
I would suggest using Gadamer for your definitions. I would also recommend Gallagher on education and hermeneutics.
By the way, I wrote a piece that brings together activity, hermeneutics, and democratic education...yes, a blend of Engestrom, Vygotsky, Gadamer and Dewey... to look at ways to talk about what occurs for teachers and students when working in the ZPD.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 8:33 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [xmca] Circle of Activity?
Another problem of terminology. I would like to know if
anyone knows the expression for this idea.
"The hermeneutic circle" is the understanding of a text
based on reading each word composing the text, but each word
is read only in the light of having already taken the word
to belong to a certain genre of text. Thus we have a circle:
understand whole via parts, understand parts via whole.
But this concept of 'circle' is hardly unique to the
interpretation of texts.
An institution or social formation is constituted by the
individuals in a community who act and perceive a range of
actions as belonging a certain social entity, but each
action is always only interpreted in the light of it being
part of a certain social entity. So we have a circle.
I am thinking of calling this a 'circle of activity'.
Does anyone know if this idea has a name which makes the
link to 'hermeneutic circle' explicit?