9 Understanding

9.1 Hermeneutical theory

Briefly put, hermeneutics is the scholarly discipline that studies interpretation. Originally, hermeneutics referred specifically to interpretation of the Bible because for most of European intellectual history, theology was considered the highest form of study. Over time, hermeneutics came to be extended to other fields. The German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer has developed a coherent view that has subsequently come to be known as “philosophical hermeneutics”. Gadamer published his magnum opus called Wahrheit und Methode (Truth and Method) in 1960 at the age of 60. In this work, Gadamer summarizes and engages in a discussion with more than 2,000 years of European thinking, from Aristotle through the developments of the Middle Ages up to and including the science of his own time.

According to Gadamer, classical hermeneutics is divided into three branches: theological, judicial, and philological hermeneutics, which are concerned with interpreting the Bible, legal texts, and works of great literature respectively. During the 18th and 19th centuries the branches of classical hermeneutics were supplemented by historical hermeneutics. The growing professionalization and objectivism of historians meant that they were faced with pertinent questions about how to ensure a true interpretation of history; they turned to hermeneutics for assistance with their task.

Since Gadamer’s work is a reaction to the historicism of the 19th century, he is first and foremost concerned with how interpretation can overcome the barrier of historical distance. However, for our purposes we will assume that this distance in time might as well be a distance in culture. After all, Gadamer’s central problem concerns how it is possible to understand an author whose historical distance makes him strange to us. The strangeness, however, is still present when we try to bridge a contemporary, but cultural, distance. Philosophical hermeneutics applies equally well to historical and cultural differences because culture is in, essence, historical.

It is important to understand that Gadamer’s philosophy is general, in the sense that it applies to all true understanding, not only scientific understanding or understanding in particular situations. This is the case despite the fact that the situations that Gadamer mostly uses as examples are those of the scholar, the historian, and the judge. Gadamer uses hermeneutical understanding as a model of all true understanding. By saying what true understanding is, he is implicitly also defining false understanding: namely, an understanding that disregards the fundamental restrictions of hermeneutics, thereby fooling itself.

9.2 Prejudice and reason

Prejudice1 is a central concept in philosophical hermeneutics. Prejudice is a prerequisite for understanding.2 As such, reason and prejudice are intimately connected, because reasoning can only take place on the foundation of prejudice. Reason cannot justify itself: there will always be some axioms, basic assumptions, or a priori knowledge that lay the ground rules for reason, and these assumptions are part of prejudice.

The Enlightenment philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries tried to replace prejudice with reason. However, the very notion that it is possible to do so is itself a form of prejudice.3 An archetypical proponent of this kind of thinking is Descartes, who refused to accept anything as a basis for truth other than that which he could reason about the world. The only basis for his reasoning was his own ability to reason, as expressed in his famous aphorism “I think, therefore I am”. Of course, as others have pointed out, Descartes did not adhere to his own strict methodology.4

To explain why prejudice is inevitable, consider that as you are reading this text you believe that I have something to tell you, that I am not lying or trying to deceive you, and that I am not saying the opposite of what I mean – in other words, that my words have meaning, and that this meaning can be understood. Your belief is a part of your prejudice, and indeed it is necessary in order to understand the text.

A radical rejection of prejudice is at the same time a rejection of the meaningfulness of the outside world. The archetype of a person rejecting all prejudice is a person suffering from paranoid schizophrenia: because he refuses to see meaning in the outside world, it becomes unintelligible to him, and in turn his own internal world becomes contingent, random, and meaningless.

Prejudice is thus a prerequisite for understanding, but it does not follow from this that all prejudice is equally good, or that prejudice is good just because it is prejudice. There exists false and true prejudice; prejudice that helps understanding and prejudice that hinders understanding. The task of hermeneutics is to determine true prejudice from false.5

1 “Vorurteil”.

2  Gadamer 1960 [1965] II.II.1.a.α, p. 254 ff.

3  Ibid. II.II.1.a.β, p. 260.

4 “Despite his austere recommendations about the methods of discovery and demonstration, he hardly ever followed those methods, hardly ever wrote in the same genre twice”. Amelie Oksenberg Rorty 1983 p. 548.

5 “Es ist diese Erfahrung, die in der historischen Forschung zu der Vorstellung geführt hat, daß erst einem gewissen geschichtlichen Abstande heraus objektive Erkenntnis erreichbar werde. … Nichts anderes als dieser Zeitenabstand vermag die eigentlich kritische Frage der Hermeneutik lösbar zu machen, nämlich die wahren Vorurteile, unter denen wir verstehen, von den falschen, unter denen wir mißverstehen, zu scheiden.” Gadamer 1960 [1965] II.II.1.c, p. 282.

9.3 Authority

The claim made by Enlightenment philosophy that reason is limitless has its opposite in the claim made by the Christian intellectual heritage: that man is fundamentally limited by existence and by history.1 By existence because he cannot do whatever he wants; by history because his knowledge is always given in a certain historical context. From this it follows that tradition is always a part of understanding and history.2 There is always a pre-existing understanding and way of doing things that must be evaluated in the course of understanding.

When evaluating tradition, the crucial concept is authority. Tradition has an authority of its own, such that we will often not accept changes to tradition without good reason. The authority of tradition ultimately rests on other sources of authority, and rejection of tradition requires authority as well. Appeals to authority are not undesirable: on the contrary, they are an integral part of understanding.

Of course, not all appeals to authority are equally good. The good appeal to authority is the appeal to reasonable authority: that is, authority that is exercised in accordance with its purpose and limitations. False authority is authority that is misused: the authority of the tyrant or the con-man. Reasonable authority is the basis for personal reverence, and personal reverence is again the basis for prejudice. Thus we see why authority is important to understanding – we form our prejudices on the basis of those whom we believe in, and those whom we believe in are determined by those to whom we ascribe authority.

The personal aspect of reverence is important; the understanding mind must have a personal relationship to authority in order to form prejudice. This precludes that Descartes’ limitless individual reason could be substituted with a limitless collective reason of humanity, such as Rousseau’s volonté générale. For example, a scientist may defer to scientific authority in the abstract, but this would not have told him, at the time, whether to believe Bohr or Einstein, Lavoisier or Priestley, or Edison or Westinghouse.

1  Gadamer 1960 [1965] II.II.1.a.β, p. 260.

2 “In Wahrheit ist Tradition stets ein Moment der Freiheit und der Geschichte selber.” Ibid. II.II.1.b.α, p. 265.

9.4 The concept of understanding

Understanding is composed of two parts: pre-understanding and understanding proper.1 Pre-understanding is the knowledge of the facts of the case that is necessary before the meaning of the case can begin to be understood. For example, knowledge of Classical Greek is part of the pre-understanding for understanding the meaning of Aristotle’s original works. Note that pre-understanding, the knowledge of bare facts, is never in itself enough to form understanding.

The concept of understanding is not a way to perceive subjectivity – that is, it is not “subjective” understanding of some “objective” reality. Understanding is an exchange between oneself and another.2 Both sides have subjective and objective perspectives. They share one physical, existing reality, but they do not necessarily share their perception of reality.

Understanding takes place in a circular movement between part and whole.3 To take one example: the part can be a sentence and the whole can be a book. To understand a sentence (the part), one has to have an understanding of the book (the whole). But, on the other hand, an understanding of the whole is only accessible through the understanding of its constituent parts. This means that the effort of understanding is always shifting, now focusing on understanding the part in context, now focusing on revising the context in the new light of the part. This insight is so important that is has come to be known as “the hermeneutical circle”.

The hermeneutical circle is not a method; method alone cannot bring about understanding.4 Reading a pile of books is a method for understanding, but whether or not the reading actually results in understanding depends on the specific situation in which the reading takes place. There is no way to prescribe a method that will with certainty result in understanding.5

Understanding is not merely reproductive – that is, carrying intact knowledge around from mind to mind. Rather, understanding is productive, in that when I understand another person’s utterance, my understanding is never exactly the same as his, since our respective contexts are different. Therefore understanding will bring about something new in the present situation, having a productive effect.6

Understanding is existential,7 meaning that understanding must result in some kind of consequence for the one who understands. For if there were no consequences, any other interpretation might do as well as the one arrived at; it would not matter to the interpreter – consequently the interpretation would not matter, meaning that it is not true understanding.8

Understanding is a connection between tradition9, understood in a broad sense, and the interpreter.10 Thus, hermeneutics acts to connect the strange and the familiar; or, seen from another perspective, acts to connect objectivity and tradition.11

1 Understanding = “Verstehen”, pre-understanding = “Vorverständnis”. — “Auch hier bewährt sich, daß Verstehen primär heißt: sich in der Sache verstehen, und erst sekundär: die Meinung des anderen als solche abheben und verstehen.” Gadamer 1960 [1965] II.II.1.c, p. 278.

2 “Das Verstehen ist selber nicht so sehr als eine Handlung der Subjektivität zu denken, sondern als Einrücken in ein Überlieferungsgeschehen, in dem sich Vergangenheit und Gegenwart beständig vermitteln.” Ibid. II.II.1.b.β, p. 274 f.

3 “Die Antizipation von Sinn, in der das Ganze gemeint ist, kommt dadurch zu explizitem Verständnis, daß die Teile, die sich vom Ganzen her bestimmen, ihrerseits auch dieses Ganze bestimmen.” Ibid. II.II.1.c, p. 275.

4 “Der Zirkel des Verstehens ist also überhaupt nicht ein ‘methodischer’ Zirkel, sondern beschreibt ein ontologisches Strukturmoment des Verstehens.” Ibid. II.II.1.c, p. 277.

5 The analyses in Section 4.2 and 5.5 are examples of how the hermeneutical circle can be applied.

6 “Daher ist Verstehen kein nur reproduktives, sondern stets auch ein produktives Verhalten. … Verstehen ist in Wahrheit kein Besserverstehen, weder im Sinne der sachlichen Besserwissens durch deutlichere Begriffe, noch im Sinne der grundsätzlichen Überlegenheit, die das Bewußte über das Unbewußte der Produktion besitz. Es genügt zu sagen, daß man anders versteht, wenn man überhaupt versteht.Ibid. II.II.1.c, p. 280.

7 “Denn erst von der ontologischen Wendung, die Heidegger dem Verstehen als einem ‘Existenzial’ verlieh, und der temporalen Interpretation, die er der Seinsweise des Daseins widmete, aus konnte der Zeitenabstand in seiner hermeneutischen Produktivität gedacht werden.” Ibid. II.II.1.c, p. 281.

8 “Verstehen erwies sich selber als ein Geschehen, …” Ibid. II.II.2.a, p. 293. This point expresses in a different way the insight encapsulated by the American philosopher C.S. Peirce’s “pragmatic maxim”: “Hence is justified the maxim, belief in which constitutes pragmatism; namely, In order to ascertain the meaning of an intellectual conception one should consider what practical consequences might conceivably result by necessity from the truth of that conception; and the sum of these consequences will constitute the entire meaning of the conception.Peirce 1905 [1931–1958] vol. 5, ¶ 9.

9 “Überlieferung.”

10 “Der Zirkel ist also nicht formaler Natur, er ist weder subjektiv noch objektiv, sondern beschreibt das Verstehen als der Ineinanderspiel der Bewegung der Überlieferung und der Bewegung des Interpreten. Die Antizipation von Sinn, die unser Verständnis eines Textes leitet, ist nicht eine Handlung der Subjektivität, sondern bestimmt sich aus der Gemeinsamkeit, die uns mit der Überlieferung verbindet. Diese Gemeinsamkeit aber ist in unserem Verhältnis zur Überlieferung in beständiger Bildung begriffen. Sie ist nicht einfach eine Voraussetzung, unter der wir schon immer stehen, sondern wir erstellen sie selbst, sofern wir verstehen, am Überlieferungsgeschehen teilhaben und es dadurch selber weiter bestimmen.” Gadamer 1960 [1965] II.II.1.c, p. 277.

11 “Die Stellung zwischen Fremdheit und Vertrautheit, die die Überlieferung für uns hat, ist das Zwischen zwischen der historisch gemeinten, abständigen Gegenständlichkeit und der Zugehörigkeit zu einer Tradition. In diesem Zwischen ist der wahre Ort der Hermeneutik.Ibid. II.II.1.c, p. 279.

9.5 Effective history

Effective history1 is Gadamer’s concept for explaining the relationship between understanding and history. It is so named to emphasize that understanding has effects, in history as well as in the present day. To be conscious of effective history is to be simultaneously aware of historical reality and of the historical nature of understanding.2

For a hermeneutic theory to be effective, it has to be a theory that is conscious that understanding is itself a part of historical reality.3 We demand of science that it is methodical; thus, we demand of scientific hermeneutics not only that it is conscious, but also that it is methodical in its consciousness. Effective history is a methodical way of expressing this consciousness, because consistently employing the concept of effective history in the hermeneutical process ensures that the historical consciousness is not merely ad hoc, but can be carried out in a systematic manner.4

What effective history essentially expresses is this: that the immediate separation in time or culture between the subject and the interpreter is not the whole of the truth. In addition to the observable differences there is a difference in perspective; namely that subject and interpreter have different aims in application.5 A subject who writes a text does not have the same ends in mind as the interpreter who later tries to understand the text.

Effective history is a form of self-insight.6 It is an awareness that when I try to understand something, I am placed in a hermeneutical situation that I cannot rise above. In the same way as I cannot choose to let my body disobey the laws of physics, I also cannot choose to let my understanding disregard the limits to knowledge that is given by the concrete point in history in which I find myself.

It is a consequence of the nature of historical existence that a reflection on effective history can never be complete; that is, we can never arrive at the unequivocal true effective history of a phenomenon.7 This is simply another way of saying that there is no such thing as complete knowledge. Our understanding is always limited by different perspectives: of some of the perspectives we are aware, of others we are not. The concept of effective history is a way to guide our awareness to discover those perspectives that best serve our purpose – our purpose being, ultimately, to find truth.

1 “Wirkungsgeschichte.”

2 “Eine sachangemessene Hermeneutik hätte im Verstehen selbst die Wirklichkeit der Geschichte aufzuweisen. Ich nenne das damit Geforderte ‘Wirkungsgeschichte’. Verstehen ist seinem Wesen nach ein wirkungsgeschichtlicher Vorgang.” Gadamer 1960 [1965] II.II.1.c, p. 283.

3 “Ein wirklich historisches Denken muß die eigene Geschichtlichkeit mitdenken.” Ibid. II.II.1.c, p. 283.

4 “Daß das historische Interesse sich nicht allein auf die geschichtliche Erscheinung oder das überlieferte Werk richtet, sondern in einer sekundären Thematik auch auf deren Wirken in der Geschichte (die schließlich auch die Geschichte der Forschung einschließt), gilt im allgemeinen als eine bloße Ergänzung der historischen Fragestellung, … Insofern ist Wirkungsgeschichte nichts Neues. Daß es aber einer solchen wirkungsgeschichtlichen Fragestellung immer bedarf, wenn ein Werk oder einer Überlieferung aus dem Zwielicht zwischen Tradition und Historie ins Klare und Offene seiner eigentlichen Bedeutung gestellt werden soll, das ist in der Tat eine neue Forderung – nicht an die Forschung, aber an das methodische Bewußtsein derselben – die sich aus der Durchreflexion des historischen Bewußtseins zwingend ergibt.” Ibid. II.II.1.d, p. 284.

5 “Wenn wir aus der für unsere hermeneutische Situation im ganzen bestimmenden historischen Distanz eine historische Erscheinung zu verstehen suchen, unterliegen wir immer bereits den Wirkungen der Wirkungsgeschichte. Sie bestimmt im voraus, was sich uns als fragwürdig und als Gegenstand der Erforschung zeigt, und wir vergessen gleichsam die Hälfte dessen, was wirklich ist, ja mehr noch: wir vergessen die ganze Wahrheit dieser Erscheinung, wenn wir die unmittelbare Erscheinung selber als die ganze Wahrheit nehmen.” Ibid. II.II.1.d, p. 284.

6 “Wirkungsgeschichtliches Bewußtsein ist zunächst Bewußtsein der hermeneutische Situation. … Der Begriff der Situation ist ja dadurch charakterisiert, daß man sich nicht ihr gegenüber befindet und daher kein gegenständliches Wissen von ihr haben kann.” Ibid. II.II.1.d, p. 285.

7 “Auch die Erhellung dieser Situation, d.h. die wirkungsgeschichtliche Reflexion ist nicht vollendbar, aber diese Unvollendbarkeit ist nicht ein Mangel an Reflexion, sondern liegt im Wesen des geschichtlichen Seins, das wir sind. Geschichtlichsein heißt, nie im Sichwissen aufgehen.Ibid. II.II.1.d, p. 285.

9.6 Horizons of understanding

As stated earlier, the task of hermeneutics is to distinguish true prejudice from false. In order to do this, the prejudices have to be evaluated. For this to happen, they must be engaged, and the engagement and evaluation of prejudices happens when a question is posed that demands that understanding is extended.1

Prejudice limits our point of view, in the sense that it limits the understanding that we are able to form based on the available facts. But at the same time prejudice serves as a solid ground that is the foundation for meaning, for as we have seen prejudice is a prerequisite for meaning.2 This unavoidable limitation of understanding that is effected by prejudice is called, by Gadamer, a horizon of understanding.3

The double role of prejudice as both limit and foundation means that prejudice must constantly be tested. The determination of what is true and false prejudice is not an act that is done with once and for all; rather, it is an ongoing process. As prejudice is in turn founded on received tradition, the ongoing testing of prejudice also means that our understanding of received tradition must constantly be tested.4

Our point of view is limited by our horizon of understanding, but what happens when our understanding is expanded, when our prejudices are tested and revised? We speak then of a fusion of horizons. Our horizon does not become completely replaced by the horizon of the other, whom we are trying to understand; nor does the meaning of the other suddenly become understandable fully within the prejudice of our original horizon. Rather, our horizon becomes nearer to that of the other, and at the same time the other’s horizon comes to be interpreted in a new light that connects it to our original horizon. A partial fusion of the horizons takes place.

In order to understand the other we have to be able to set ourselves in the other’s place, at least for a short while. Real understanding cannot happen if we deny the validity of the other’s premises without understanding the consequences of those premises. Thus we necessarily have to suspend our own perspective temporarily. Otherwise, the perspective of the other becomes unintelligible to us. On the other hand, there lies also a danger in being too eager to adapt to the foreign perspective. This leads to an unrealistic perception of our own reality, and to a romanticization of the other’s – for example the romantic fictions of “the noble savage” and of historical “Golden Ages”.5 A horizon of understanding is a frame of reference of higher generality that suspends the particularity of both ourselves and the other before understanding can take place.6

A horizon of understanding is a fundamental limitation of what we can understand. But horizons are not static. All true speech serves to bring horizons together, resulting in a fusion of horizons. Moreover, horizons are not isolated. No culture’s horizon of understanding is completely separated from others’.7 There is always some overlap of horizon between cultures, at the very least the basic experience of being human.

Horizons are always shifting, because life itself is not static. In this regard, we may perceive human existence itself as fusions of horizons,8 at least so long as we are talking about understanding as being fundamental to human existence; and human existence is certainly not possible without understanding.

Historical consciousness and horizons of understanding are not exactly the same things, but they are related. At the most fundamental level, they are tied together by human existence – an existence that is determined by heritage and received tradition.9

Thus, all understanding is a fusion of horizons.10 One’s own horizon of understanding and that of tradition are two horizons that are always involved in the fusion. It is imperative for a scientifically conscious hermeneutics to be aware of the distinction between one’s own horizon and that of tradition. We see now why the concept of effective history is so important to philosophical hermeneutics, for effective history expresses nothing other than a conscious awareness of the relationship between tradition and understanding. Effective history is a way of letting the horizons fuse in a controlled manner.11

1 “Alle Suspension von Urteilen aber, mithin und erst recht die von Vorurteilen, hat, logisch gesehen, die Struktur der Frage.” Gadamer 1960 [1965] II.II.1.c, p. 283.

2 “Wir waren davon ausgegangen, daß eine hermeneutische Situation durch die Vorurteile bestimmt wird, die wir mitbringen. Insofern bilden sie den Horizont einer Gegenwart, denn sie stellen das dar, über das hinaus man nicht zu sehen vermag. Nun gilt es aber, den Irrtum fernzuhalten, als wäre es ein fester Bestand von Meinungen und Wertungen, die den Horizont der Gegenwart bestimmen und begrenzen, und als höbe sich die Andersheit der Vergangenheit dagegen wie gegen einen festen Grund ab.” Ibid. II.II.1.d, p. 289.

3 “Alle endliche Gegenwart hat ihre Schranken. Wir bestimmen den Begriff der Situation eben dadurch, daß sie einen Standort darstellt, der die Möglichkeit des Sehens beschränkt. Zum Begriff der Situation gehört daher wesenhaft der Begriff des Horizontes. Horizont ist der Gesichtskreis, der all das umfaßt und umschließt, was von einem Punkt aus sichtbar ist. In der Anwendung auf das denkende Bewußtsein reden wir dann von Enge des Horizontes, von möglicher Erweiterung des Horizontes, von Erschließung neuer Horizonte usw.” Ibid. II.II.1.d, p. 286.

4 “In Wahrheit ist der Horizont der Gegenwart in steter Bildung begriffen, sofern wir alle unsere Vorurteile ständig erproben müssen.” Ibid. II.II.1.d, p. 289.

5 “Das historische Bewußtsein tut offenbar Ähnliches, wenn es sich in die Situation der Vergangenheit versetzt und dadurch den richtigen historischen Horizont zu haben beansprucht. … Der Text, der historisch verstanden wird, wird aus dem Anspruch, Wahres zu sagen, förmlich herausgedrängt. Indem man die Überlieferung vom historischen Standpunkt aus sieht, d.h. sich in die historische Situation versetz und den historischen Horizont zu rekonstruieren sucht, meint man zu verstehen. In Wahrheit hat man den Anspruch grundsätzlich aufgegeben, in der Überlieferung für einen selber gültige und verständliche Wahrheit zu finden. Solche Anerkennung der Andersheit des Anderen, die dieselbe zum Gegenstande objektiver Erkenntnis macht, ist insofern eine grundsätzliche Suspension seines Anspruchs.” Ibid. II.II.1.d, p. 287.

6 “Solches Sichversetzen ist weder Einfühlung einer Individualität in eine andere, noch auch Unterwerfung des anderen unter die eigenen Maßstäbe, sondern bedeutet immer die Erhebung zu einer höheren Allgemeinheit, die nicht nur die eigene Partikularität, sondern auch die des anderen überwindet.” Ibid. II.II.1.d, p. 288.

7 “Wie der Einzelne nie ein Einzelner ist, weil er sich immer schon mit anderen versteht, so ist auch der geschlossene Horizont, der eine Kultur einschließen soll, eine Abstraktion.” Ibid. II.II.1.d, p. 288.

8 “Es macht die geschichtliche Bewegtheit des menschlichen Daseins aus, daß es keine schlechthinnige Standortgebundenheit besitzt und daher auch niemals einen wahrhaft geschlossenen Horizont. Der Horizont ist vielmehr etwas, in das wir hineinwandern und das mit uns mitwandert. Dem Beweglichen verschieben sich die Horizonte. So ist aus der Vergangenheitshorizont, aus dem alles menschliche Leben lebt und der in der Weise der Überlieferung da ist, immer schon in Bewegung.” Ibid. II.II.1.d, p. 288.

9 “Die eigene und fremde Vergangenheit, der unser historisches Bewußtsein zugewendet ist, bildet mit an diesem beweglichen Horizont, aus dem menschliches Leben immer lebt und der es als Herkunft und Überlieferung bestimmt.” Ibid. II.II.1.d, p. 288.

10 “Vielmehr ist Verstehen immer der Vorgang der Verschmelzung solcher vermeintlich für sich seiender Horizonte.Ibid. II.II.1.d, p. 289.

11 “Im Vollzug des Verstehens geschieht eine wirkliche Horizontverschmelzung, die mit dem Entwurf des historischen Horizontes zugleich dessen Aufhebung vollbringt. Wir bezeichneten den kontrollierten Vollzug solcher Verschmelzung als die Aufgabe des wirkungsgeschichtlichen Bewußtseins.” Ibid. II.II.1.d, p. 290.

9.7 Application

The central problem in hermeneutics is that of application.1 Application is a part of all understanding, and cannot be separated from it.2 There are two aspects of this problem. One is that the phenomenon we are trying to understand originally had some intention behind it: an application of knowledge. The other is our own reason for trying to understand: the application to which we put our understanding. Understanding is action in that it requires effort: that is, an application of will.

To give an example of the importance of application, consider that performance and interpretation cannot be completely separated in the arts of poetry, music and theatre.3 Our interpretation of a work is necessarily influenced by the circumstance that it was meant to be read aloud, played or shown. Even if we do not have an actual performance in mind, nevertheless the potential of the artwork to be performed will determine the meaning that we ascribe to it.

For example, if a soldier were to refuse to carry out an order, he would first have to understand it correctly. If he did not understand the order, then his failure to carry it out would not be refusal but incompetence. On the other hand, if he never considered the meaning of the order but refused to comply out of hand, it would not be a refusal of that particular order but a case of blind rebellion against authority. The soldier who denies an order must first understand it; that is, evaluate its meaning and consequence – which is to understand its application.4

Understanding is an aspect of effect and shows itself as effect.5 For, as we have already seen, understanding without consequence is not true understanding.

Older hermeneutics is divided into three parts: understanding, explaining and application.6 Together, these parts make up the interpretation. It is important to understand that application is not somehow subordinate to the others – it is fully as relevant to interpretation as are understanding and explaining.7

In judicial hermeneutics, the application takes the form of judgment. This is the essential use of judicial hermeneutics: to help the judge understand the law in order to pass judgment.8 In theological hermeneutics, the application is preaching. Preaching is the act by which the priest conveys an explanation of his understanding of the Bible to the congregation.9

The branches of hermeneutics differ both in application and subject matter, but that does not mean that they are without relation to each other. On the contrary: Gadamer takes judicial hermeneutics and its interrelation between understanding and application as an example of this interrelation in the other branches of hermeneutics. In that way, it can serve to restore the old unity between judicial, theological and philological hermeneutics.10

Modern science splits understanding into three functions: cognitive, reproductive and normative. This is problematic for several reasons. Firstly, this perception of understanding ignores the significance of explaining and application. Secondly, the introduced opposition between normative and cognitive is at odds with the experience from judicial and theological hermeneutics, which shows that normative and cognitive function cannot be conceptually separated.11

The romanticist perception of history is grounded in a psychological explanation that is based on a false opposition between subject and object.12 In this perception, the main problem of interpretation becomes the unification of distinct subjective perceptions. This has the consequence that understanding becomes a matter of congeniality, and ultimately that interpretation comes to be dependent on some kind of mystical meeting of souls.

Modern science goes in the opposite direction, and commits the fallacy of disregarding anything but the objective perspective of history. This results in an inability to reconcile judgements and facts, and leaves science always hunting for a pure objective reality that turns out to be an illusion, for the simple fact that while subject and object can be distinguished, they cannot be separated.

In opposition to both romanticism and modern science, hermeneutic thinking maintains that understanding is based on meaning and intention found in the received tradition, and understanding is immediately accessible to us, dependant neither on congeniality nor on reducing all reality to objects.13

In hermeneutics, explaining is bound to the text in a way similar to that in which perspective is bound to a picture. The picture can be interpreted in many ways, but we are not free to choose the perspective, it is given beforehand.14 Each text must be understood on its own premises, without the interpreter adding premises of his own. That is the demand of science.15

The hermeneutic insight is that understanding always requires application of the understanding mind. This is denied by modern science, but the denial lands science in trouble when it demands of the scientist a distanced mind, because the distance itself hinders understanding.16 Hermeneutically, the scientist must be personally engaged in the text in order to understand. This engagement is necessarily subjective, but it can nonetheless be scientific.

1 “Während von dem ästhetisch-historischen Positivismus im Gefolge der romantischen Hermeneutik diese Aufgabe verdeckt worden war, liegt hier in Wahrheit das zentrale Problem der Hermeneutik überhaupt. Es ist das Problem der Anwendung, die in allem Verstehen gelegen ist.” Gadamer 1960 [1965] II.II.1.d, p. 290.

2 “Das heißt aber negativ, daß ein Wissen im allgemeinen, das sich nicht der konkrete Situation zu applizieren weiß, sinnlos bleibt, ja die konkrete Forderungen, die von der Situation ausgehen, zu verdunkeln droht.” Ibid. II.II.2.b, p. 296.

3 “Niemand wird ein Drama inszenieren, eine Dichtung vorlesen oder eine Komposition zur Aufführung bringen können, ohne den ursprünglichen Sinn des Textes zu verstehen und in seiner Reproduktion und Auslegung zu meinen. … Wenn wir vollends daran denken, wie die Übersetzung fremdsprachlicher Texte oder gar ihre dichterische Nachbildung, aber auch das richtige Vorlesen von Texten mitunter die gleiche Erklärungsleistung von sich aus übernehmen wie die philologische Auslegung, so daß beides ineinander übergeht, dann läßt sich dem Schluß nicht ausweichen, daß die sich aufdrängende Unterscheidung kognitiver, normativer und reproduktiver Auslegung keine grundsätzliche Geltung hat, sondern ein einheitliches Phänomen umschreibt.”  Ibid. II.II.2.a, p. 294.

4 “… Es ist eine Schelmenmotiv, Befehle so auszuführen, daß man ihren Wortlaut, aber nicht ihren Sinn befolgt. Es ist also kein Zweifel, daß der Empfänger eines Befehls eine bestimmte produktive Leistung des Sinnverständnisses vollbringen muß.” Ibid. II.II.2.c, p. 317.

5 “Das Verstehen erweist sich als eine Weise von Wirkung und weiß sich als eine solche Wirkung.” Ibid. II.II.2.c, p. 323.

6 “Verstehen”, “Auslegung”, and “Anwendung”. Ibid. II.II.2.a, p. 290 f.

7 “Auslegung ist nicht ein zum Verstehen nachträglich und gelegentlich hinzukommender Akt, sondern Verstehen ist immer Auslegung, und Auslegung ist daher die explizite Form des Verstehens. … Wir werden also gleichsam einen Schritt über die romantische Hermeneutik hinaus genötigt, indem wir nicht nur Verstehen und Auslegen, sondern dazu auch Anwenden als in einem einheitlichen Vorgang begriffen denken.” Ibid. II.II.2.a, p. 291.

8 And in order to explain his judgment in the motivation for the decision.

9  Ibid. II.II.2.a, p. 292.

10  Ibid. II.II.2.c, p. 311. Also Ibid. II.II.2.a, p. 292: “Die enge Zusammengehörigkeit, die ursprünglich die philologische Hermeneutik mit der juristischen und theologischen verband, beruhte aber auf der Anerkennung der Applikation als eines integrierenden Momentes alles Verstehens.”

11  Ibid. II.II.2.a, p. 293.

12  Ibid. II.II.2.a, p. 294. The concepts “subjectivity” and “objectivity” are discussed further in Section 6.1 (Cultural theory: practice and form).

13 “Unsere Überlegungen verwehren uns, die hermeneutische Problemstellung auf die Subjektivität des Interpreten und die Objektivität des zu verstehenden Sinnes aufzuteilen. Ein solches Verfahren ginge von einem falschen Gegenüber aus, … Das Wunder des Verstehens besteht vielmehr darin, daß es keiner Kongenialität bedarf, um das wahrhaft Bedeutsame und das ursprünglich Sinnhafte in der Überlieferung zu erkennen. Wir vermögen uns vielmehr dem überlegenen Anspruch des Textes zu öffnen und der Bedeutung zu entsprechen, in der er zu uns spricht.” Ibid. II.II.2.a, p. 294 f.

14 “Die Zugehörigkeit des Auslegen zu seinem Text ist wie die Zugehörigkeit des Augenpunktes zu der in einem Bilde gegebenen Perspektive. Es handelt sich nicht darum, daß man diesen Augenpunkte wie einem Standort suchen und einnehmen sollte, sondern daß der, der versteht, nicht beliebig seinem Blickpunkt wählt, sondern seinen Platz vorgegeben findet.” Ibid. II.II.2.c, p. 312.

15 “Das aber besagt, daß die historische Wissenschaft jeden Text zunächst in sich zu verstehen sucht und die inhaltliche Meinung desselben nicht selber vollzieht, sondern in ihrer Wahrheit dahingestellt sein läßt. … Nur der versteht, der sich selber aus dem Spiele zu lassen versteht.” Ibid. II.II.2.c, p. 317.

16  Ibid. II.II.2.c, p. 316.

9.8 The application of history

Let us return to the example of judicial hermeneutics. Its application, judgment, is a model of the relationship between past and present. Judicial hermeneutics presupposes a community under law.1 This community consist of both received tradition and of living practice. Where there is no community under law, judicial hermeneutics is not possible, because the declarations of a tyrannical ruler can immediately and unforeseeably annihilate any given rule of law. Understanding the declarations becomes then not a task of understanding the application of law, but instead of understanding the self-serving interests of a tyrant.

Where judicial hermeneutics is possible, the task of a legal professional is to determine the normative content of the law so that he can anticipate what the court will do. To do this, he will look at the text of the law, and in order to understand exactly what the text means he must look at how the law has been used in the past. The law speaks, for example, of “intent”, but what exactly does that mean? What are the requirements to proving in court that there was intent? To answer this, the legal professional must look at the history of the use of the law, and discern the intention behind the wording.2

An historian of law that is interested not in the current application of the law, but in how it was used in the past, must do the same deliberation as the present legal professional in trying to discern how to apply the law.3 That is, to understand how the law was used in the past he must understand the consequences of applying the law in this way or that. To do that he must have knowledge of how to apply the law, and that knowledge must ultimately have its foundation in the present practicing of the law, for the present use sets the perspective in which all interpretations of the past are made.4

An interpretation of received tradition is, by its very nature always seeking some application, though this does not necessarily have to be a concrete task.5 The application of history is to see each single text as a source of received tradition.6 A person who understands a text is always personally connected to the text and future generations must necessarily understand the text in a different way.7

The application of history is made complete by the historical critique of received tradition. This is what it means to be conscious of effective history.8

1 “Rechtsgemeinschaft”. Gadamer 1960 [1965] II.II.2.c, p. 312.

2  Ibid. II.II.2.c, p. 308 f.

3 “Ein unmittelbares Zugehen auf den historische Gegenstand, das seinen Stellenwert objektiv ermittelte, kann es nicht geben. Der Historiker muß die gleiche Reflexion leisten, die auch den Juristen leitet.” Ibid. II.II.2.c, p. 310.

4  Ibid. II.II.2.c, p. 311.

5 “Der Interpret, der es mit einer Überlieferung zu tun hat, sucht sich dieselbe zu applizieren. Aber auch hier heißt das nicht, daß der überlieferte Text für ihn als ein Allgemeines gegeben und verstanden und danach erst für besondere Anwendungen in Gebrauch genommen würde. Der Interpret will vielmehr gar nichts anderes, als dies Allgemeine – den Text – verstehen, d.h. verstehen, was die Überlieferung sagt, was Sinn und Bedeutung des Textes ausmacht. Um das zu verstehen, darf er aber nicht von sich selbst und der konkreten hermeneutische Situation, in der er sich befindet, absehen wollen. Er muß den Text auf diese Situation beziehen, wenn er überhaupt verstehen will.” Ibid. II.II.2.b, p. 307.

6 “Für den Historiker tritt jedoch der einzelne Text mit anderen Quellen und Zeugnissen zur Einheit des Überlieferungsganzen zusammen. Die Einheit dieses Ganzen der Überlieferung ist sein wahrer hermeneutischer Gegenstand.” Ibid. II.II.2.c, p. 322.

7 “In allem Lesen geschieht vielmehr eine Applikation, so daß, wer einen Text liest, selber noch in dem vernommenen Sinn darin ist. Er gehört mit zum zu dem Text, den er versteht. … Er kann sich, ja er muß sich eingestehen, daß kommende Geschlechter das, was er in dem Texte gelesen hat, anders verstehen werden.” Ibid. II.II.2.c, p. 323.

8  Ibid. II.II.2.c, p. 323.

9.9 Ethical and technical knowledge

As mentioned above, philosophical hermeneutics is intended as a general theory of true understanding, which means that the hermeneutical insights apply without exception. However, following the rise of modern science it has become the norm in epistemological philosophy to draw a distinction between the natural sciences, on one hand, and the humanities – or as J.S. Mill called them, the moral sciences – on the other.1 It is therefore appropriate here to discuss how the objectifying natural sciences are regarded in hermeneutical theory.

Gadamer’s discussion of the different kinds of knowledge is based on Aristotelian ethics. The central problem of Aristotelian ethics is to examine what role reason plays in ethical behaviour.2 Ethical knowledge3 cannot be exact in the same way as can, for example, mathematics. Furthermore, ethical knowledge cannot be reduced to formality: the person that would act ethically must himself know and understand the situation adequately.4

Ethical knowledge is contrasted with technical knowledge.5 The two are similar in that they are both forms of practice. The fundamental difference between them is that in ethical knowledge, we are not masters of the object of knowledge, whereas in technical knowledge we are.6 The central question is thus one of mastery.7

The rules that a craftsman use to guide his work are a form of technical knowledge. These rules aim at perfection. By necessity, the rules cannot in practice be followed to perfection, but the craftsman would rather be without this imperfection; deviation is a sort of loss that is in a philosophical sense painful. Contrary to this, the law, which is a form of ethical knowledge, is by its essence imperfect. Softening the law to apply to the situation at hand, and showing mercy, is not a loss – this deviation does not result in a lesser law, but in a better one. Attempting to create a perfect law, a law that anticipates all possible situations, would result in a totalitarian law: the opposite of the desired. All ethical traditions, like the law, are tied to a specific time in history and to a specific nation. They are neither mere conventions, nor are they written in the stars.8

Ethical knowledge is to take counsel with oneself – technical knowledge is not. Ethical knowledge does not possess a prescient aspect in the same way technical knowledge does.9 Technical knowledge can be taught to others, whereas ethical knowledge has to be lived; one cannot be taught how to live life, it has to be done. In the same way, it is easy to resolve to live a virtuous life, but to carry out the resolve is not as easy as that.10

To consider which is best out of a range of equally appropriate means is technical, but to consider which means are appropriate at all is ethical. Ethical knowledge includes knowledge of both ends and means, and is the fundamental form of experience.11

Experience can only be understanding if it is related to someone else, and if, through this relation, it is an expression of the will to do the right thing. Technical ability without an ethical goal or excellence without moral restraint is δεινός: horrible.12

The fields of science cannot simply be separated into those that are concerned with ethical knowledge and those that are concerned with technical knowledge. Because the humanities are concerned with studying the conditions of human existence, there is a strong affinity between ethical knowledge and the humanities, also known as the moral sciences. However, ethical knowledge is not identical to moral science. In addition to being contrasted with technical knowledge, ethical knowledge is contrasted also with theoretical knowledge,13 of which mathematics is a prime example.

However, any good science partakes in ethical knowledge, regardless of the field. The different fields of science are demarcated by their objects of study, and they are of course influenced by the character of that object, such that the natural sciences are strongly connected with technical knowledge and the moral sciences are strongly connected with ethical knowledge. But the scientific fields do not follow the distinctions of knowledge, and in any science worth its name, technical, theoretical, and ethical knowledge is found.

1 Gadamer speaks about “Geisteswissenschaften”.

2  Gadamer 1960 [1965] II.II.2.b, p. 295.

3 “Sittliche Wissen”, φρόνησις.

4  Ibid. II.II.2.b, p. 296.

5 τέχνε.

6 In Aristotle’s terms, ethical knowledge is “self-knowledge” (“Sich-Wissen”) whereas technical knowledge is “for-itself-knowledge” (“Für-sich-Wissen”).

7  Ibid. II.II.2.b, p. 299.

8  Ibid. II.II.2.b.1, p. 303 f.

9  Ibid. II.II.2.b.2, p. 304.

10 Carl von Clausewitz illustrates this aspect of ethical knowledge in his writings on the virtues of a military commander. The good commander needs a certain amount of experience that can only be accumulated in actual war, because “War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which actions in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty.” von Clausewitz 1832-34 [2007] book 1, chp. 3.

11 “Das sittliche Wissen ist wirklich ein Wissen eigener Art. Es umgreift in einer eigentümlichen Weise Mittel und Zweck und unterscheidet sich damit vom technischen Wissen. … Denn das sittliche Wissen enthält selbst eine Art der Erfahrung in sich, ja, wir werden noch sehen, daß dies vielleicht die grundlegende Form der Erfahrung ist, der gegenüber all andere Erfahrung schon eine Denaturierung, um nicht zu sagen Naturalisierung, darstellt.” Gadamer 1960 [1965] II.II.2.b.2, p. 305.

12  Ibid. II.II.2.b.3, p. 306 f. “Nichts ist so schrecklich, so unheimlich, ja so furchtbar wie die Ausübung genialer Fähigkeiten zum Üblen.” Ibid. p. 307.

13 Theoretical, or learned, knowledge: επιστήμη. Ibid. II.II.2.b, p. 297.

List of source material


Observation in the company Tribeflame in Turku, Finland during the period 15th-19th August, 22nd-24th August, 30th-31st August, 1st-2nd September, and 5th-9th September 2011. Observation time was normally around 9 AM to 5 PM, depending each day on the working hours of the company.

Field diary — A handwritten field diary was kept wherein observations were systematically noted throughout the day. The owners and programmers of Tribeflame spoke Swedish amongst each other, and the graphic artists spoke Finnish, meaning that company meetings were also in Finnish. The diary is kept mostly in Danish mixed with Swedish and Finnish phrases. 233 pages.

Interview 1 — Swedish. 1 hour 34 minutes. 19th August 2011. Björn (name changed). 33 year old male, born in Helsingfors. Founder and owner of Tribeflame.

Interview 2 — Swedish. 1 hour 54 minutes. 23rd August 2011. Mickie (name changed). 38 year old male, born in Helsingfors. Programmer in Tribeflame.

Interview 3 — English. 1 hour 27 minutes. 24th August 2011. Kati (name changed). 30 year old female, born in Kotka. Temporary graphic artist in Tribeflame.

Interview 4 — English. 2 hours 1 minute. 30th August 2011. Matti (name changed). 31 year old male, born in Parainen. Graphic artist in Tribeflame.

Interview 5 — Swedish. 1 hour 57 minutes. 1st September 2011. Andreas (name changed). 34 year old male, born in Åbo. Founder and owner of Tribeflame.

Interview 6 — Swedish. 1 hour 34 minutes. 1st September 2011. Interview with Mickie where he explains the source code for the game with the working title Flower.

Interview 7 — Swedish. 1 hour 11 minutes. 6th September 2011. Interview with Andreas where he explains the internally developed library code at Tribeflame and the company’s technological strategy.

Interview 8 — Swedish. 1 hour 33 minutes. 22nd September 2011. Fredrik (name changed). 25 year old male, born in Korsnäs. Part time programmer in Tribeflame.

Presentation — English. Presentation of Tribeflame by Björn at the Department of Information Technologies, Åbo Akademi, 4th December 2012 at 9 AM – 10:10 AM. Notes. 5 pages.

Documents — Concept sketch and various documents used in meetings by Tribeflame. Printed and hand written. 20 pages.

Source code — Printed source code from the game with the working title Flower. From the files “GameScene.hpp”, “GameScene.hpp”, “Obstacle.hpp”, and “Obstacle.cpp”. 28 pages.

Diagrams — Hand drawn diagrams explaining the structure of Tribeflame’s library code. 2 flip-chart sheets.

News article — “Akademisk spelhåla på mässan”. Meddelanden från Åbo Akademi no. 13 2012, p. 28.

Photographs — Photographs of Tribeflame’s office taken 2nd September 2011.


“RECOMP” stands for Reduced Certification Costs Using Trusted Multi-core Platforms and is a European Union-funded project from ARTEMIS (Advanced Research & Technology for Embedded Intelligence and Systems) Joint Undertaking (JU). The project started 1st April 2010 and had a duration of 36 months. The aim was to establish methods, tools and platforms for enabling cost-efficient (re)certification of safety-critical and mixed-criticality systems. Applications addressed were automotive, aerospace, industrial control systems, and lifts and transportation systems.14 The Software Engineering Laboratory at Åbo Akademi participated in the project through professor Iván Porres, Jeanette Heidenberg, and Espen Suenson. The interviews listed here were conducted and transcribed by Espen Suenson except in one case, noted below.

14 Information from the official RECOMP website.

Interview 9 — Swedish. Åbo Akademi. 50 minutes. 21st January 2011. 38 year old female, born in Mariehamn. M.Sc. in computer science. Software design architect in a large telecommunications company, Finland.

Interview 10 — English. Telephone interview. 46 minutes. 2nd March 2011. Jensen, Martin Faurschou. 34 year old male, born in København. M.Sc. in engineering. Part of functional safety team at Danfoss Power Electronics, Graasten. Jeanette Heidenberg conducted the interview.

Interview 11 — English. Skype telephone interview. 1 hour. 7th March 2011. Ambrosio, Gustavo. 26 year old male, born in Madrid. Electrical engineer, masters degree in aerospace engineering. Software engineer. Integrasys, Madrid.

Interview 12 — English. Telephone interview. 1 hour 1 minute. 9th March 2011. Two persons interviewed. 33 year old male, born in Brno. Degree in electrical engineering and computer science. Responsible for quality and ISO standard, project manager. 45 year old male, born in Brno. Degree in electrical engineering and computer science. Co-founder. Company in image and signal processing, industrial and traffic management, Brno.

Interview 13 — English. Telephone interview. 1 hour 3 minutes. 10th March 2011. 40 year old male, born in Italy. Aerospace engineer. Director of critical real time software in a space industry company, Finland.

Interview 14 — Danish. Telephone interview. 1 hour 8 minutes. 16th March 2011. Jessen, Poul. Male. Electrical engineer. Director and owner of PAJ Systemteknik, Sønderborg.

Interview 15 — English. Telephone interview. 59 minutes. 17th March 2011. Loock, Detlef. 51 year old male. Electrical engineer. Group leader for quality assurance in functional safety in Delphi Automotive, Wiehl.

Interview 16 — English. Telephone interview. 1 hour. 24th March 2011. Philipps, Jan. 42 year old male, born in Saarland. Degree in computer science and executive MBA in innovation and business creation. Co-founder and management board member of Validas, München.

Interview 17 — English. Telephone interview. 30 minutes. 25th March 2011. Slotosch, Oscar. 45 year old male, born in München. PhD in computer science. CEO, co-founder, and management board member of Validas, München.

Interview 18 — English. Telephone interview. 1 hour 2 minutes. 25th March 2011. 44 year old male, born in Germany. PhD in computer science. Quality manager, previously team manager for electronic control units business unit in a automotive company, Germany.

Interview 19 — English. Telephone interview. 58 minutes. 29th March 2011. 38 year old male, born in Germany. PhD in electrical engineering. CTO in a company that makes software development tools for the automotive industry, Germany.

Interview 20 — Danish. Telephone interview. 1 hour 2 minutes. 30th March 2011. Riisgaard-Jensen, Martin. 49 year old male, born in København. Master in electrical engineering. Software project cooperation coordinator in Skov, Glyngøre.

Interview 21 — English. Telephone interview. 1 hour 1 minute. 4th April 2011. Delebarre, Véronique. 53 year old female, born in France. PhD in computer science. CEO and founder of Safe River, Paris.

Interview 22 — English. Åbo Akademi. 1 hour 7 minutes. 15th April 2011. Two persons interviewed. Tolvanen, Markku. 41 year old male, born in Lappeenranta. Computer science engineer. Principal designer in embedded systems. Hakulinen, Sami. Male. R&D Manager. Metso Automation, Finland.

Interview 23 — English. Telephone interview. 1 hour 6 minutes. 2nd May 2011. Two persons interviewed. Tchefouney, Wazoba. 32 year old male. Diploma engineer from Brest. Networks specialist, electronic architecture, research and innovation department. Graniou, Marc. 37 year old male. Diploma engineer from Brest. Specialist in safety domain, electronic architecture, research and innovation department. PSA Peugeot Citroên, Paris.

Interview 24 — English. Telephone interview. 1 hour 12 minutes. 4th May 2011. Two persons interviewed. Honold, Michael. 49 year old male, born in Germany. Electronics engineer. Hardware certification expert. Bitzer, Holger. 39 year old male, born in Germany. Electronics engineer. Project responsible for subsystems engineering. Cassidian Electronics, EADS, Ulm.

Interview 25 — English. Pasila. 1 hour 5 minutes. 5th May 2011. Two persons interviewed. Longhurst, Andrew. 40 year old male, born in Kent. Masters in robotics and automation. Engineering manager and quality manager. Davy, William. 25 year old male, born in Johannesburg. Masters in engineering. Senior engineer. Wittenstein Aerospace and Simulation, Bristol.

Interview 26 — English. Pasila. 1 hour 3 minutes. 5th May 2011. 48 year old male, born in Stanford. Computer science degree. Engineer in industrial research company, England.

Interview 27 — English. Telephone interview. 57 minutes. 17th May 2011. Two persons interviewed. 35 year old female, born in Zaarbrücken. Industrial engineer and quality assurance manager. 37 year old male, born near Hannover. Computer scientist and project manager. The company develops a real-time operating system. Germany.

Interview 28 — English. Telephone interview. 56 minutes. 23rd May 2011. Marino, Javier Romero. 43 year old male, born in Madrid. Aeronautic engineer. Project manager in telecommunications and control systems department in FCC, Madrid.

Interview 29 — English. Telephone interview. 1 hour. 26th May 2011. Suihkonen, Kari. 43 year old male, born in Parainen. Masters in physics. R&D division director in Kone, Chennai.

Interview 30 — English. Telephone interview. 31 minutes. 5th July 2011. Male. COO and R&D Director in a hardware company working with video surveillance and in the space industry, Spain.

Interview 31 — English. Telephone interview. 1 hour. 14th July 2011. Brewerton, Simon. 41 year old male, born in London. BSc in cybernetics and control systems. Senior principal for microcontroller division in Infineon, Bristol.

Interview 32 — English. Telephone interview. 1 hour 9 minutes. 28th May 2013. 32 year old male, born in Germany. Diploma engineer in communication systems. Certifier and group leader of generic safety systems in TÜV Süd, Germany.

Presentation — English. William Davy, Wittenstein Aerospace and Simulation. Presentation on Free, Open and Safe RTOS to the Embedded Systems Laboratory at Åbo Akademi 23rd May 2012, 2 PM to 3 PM. Notes. 4 pages.

Web sites — Official web sites of companies participating in RECOMP.

Documents — Presentation slides and various internal information documents provided by companies participating in RECOMP.

Deliverables — Official deliverables and intermediate work products of RECOMP, especially WP4.2a.


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