JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 324
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But this convergence of insight is not the result or the property of either
participant; rather, it results from a reciprocal relationship that creates a
Something like this convergence of insight also takes place when an
interpreter grasps the meaning of a text. As the interpreter encounters the
text in its otherness (in its absence from the realm of understanding), the
interpreter reexamines presuppositions while also paying attention to
what the text seems to be saying. The interpreter's success in "overcom-
ing the otherness" of the text will, of course, depend on whether the
interpreter has discovered a way of reconciling some of his or her present
presuppositions (which have undergone reexamination) with what the
text seems to be claiming. This process does "not only [allow] those
prejudices that are of a particular and limited nature [to] die away, but
causes those that bring about genuine understanding to emerge clearly as
such" (264). Simultaneously, we have here not the recovery of an original
text, but rather the application of the text into the meaningful terms of the
present. Being able to grasp the meaning of the text allows for the "rising
to a higher universality that overcomes not only our own particularity but
also that ofthe other." A "higher universality" develops as understanding
renders the presuppositions/particularities of both interpreter and text
into a "fusion" that overcomes their parochialness with the common
grounds of the tradition. This is "the full realization of conversation, in
which something is expressed that is not only mine or my author's, but [a]
common [tradition]" (350).
Because a text understood creates a common language, instantiating
a "fusion of horizons" that widens the particularities of the present while
translating the text into our present circumstances, no past or present
horizon (presumption) can be seen as a self-enclosed totality that is fully
determined, for each horizon modifies and acts on the other so that they
intersect. Yet, within a given horizon (within the given linguistic-histori-
cal presuppositions), a certain order can be detected; and this order,
however minimal, comes to govern the ways in which present and past
horizonal intersections occur. According to Gadamer, our desire to
understand a text from the past is not to be thought of so much as an action
of one's present subjectivity but as the placing of oneself within a process
of tradition, for a tradition has always established an order towards any
text (258). Thus, in addition to presuppositions, the interpreter begins
reading/writing of a text with what has already been previously ordered
and handed down to him or her as an "effect" of the text. Since a text is
transmitted in time it comes to compile "effects" that will impact upon
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Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition (U.S.). JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004, periodical, 2004; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28644/m1/70/: accessed January 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .