2013 年 30 巻 p. 312-320
If anthropology is a discipline of understanding the others, then, fieldwork is the bridge between the anthropologist and the others. Nevertheless, fieldwork had long been a tool or a technique for collecting ethnographic data before B. K. Malinowski formulated its epistemological foundation in “Argonauts of the Western Pacific”that was published in1922. In the “Introduction” of “Argonauts of the Western Pacific”, Malinowski suggested a biological paradigm for the anthropological fieldwork: skeleton, flesh and blood, and spirit. Malinowski also suggested us that the anthropologists had to learn the native's language in order to get closer to the native's mind that is the spirit of the others.
Malinowski's formulation of “native point of view” was then re-oriented in 1966 by C. Geertz. For Geertz, we understand the others because we experience-near to the others if we can interpret the “meaning” that is expressed in the native's social discourse or social action. Geertz termed the kind of understanding as “empathetic understanding” or “empathy” in short. Geertz' notion of “experience” and “empathy” in fact comes from W. Dilthey's theory, the founder of modern hermeneutics. Dilthey's hermeneutics started with the problem of “how can we understand the others?”
Dilthey's theory of understanding in fact is an expansion of common mind or familiar acquaintance. Dilthey was not in wonderment about the plurality of human consciousness. He was blinded with the qualitative variations of "self" in different civilizations and sheltered from considering other life-worlds. This misconception of human nature leads to Dilthey's misformulations of human understanding. In this perspective, Dilthey's theory needs to be reformulated if it is applied to understand other life-worlds.
In conclusion, I suggest a further understanding, which I term "double consciousness" and "ideal unit", to illuminate the basis of hermeneutical circle or spiral in Dilthey's theory of understanding. Because relation and structure always have priority in Dilthey's thinking, a complete picture of his hermeneutics demands a look at how he conceptualizes the relation and the structure of the hermeneutical circle. These two concepts (relation and structure) are actually two faces of one coin. Thus, a re-interpretation of Dilthey's hermeneutics suggests a double problematic: that of knowing thyself (how we know ourselves) and that of knowing others (how the others know themselves). Therefore, acquiring an understanding of other cultural worlds becomes an important task for the anthropology of experience.