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Wouter T.C. Bisschop

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I am a Ph.D. student in philosophy and work on the epistemology of interpretation. After BA’s and MA’s in Theology and Religious Studies and in Philosophy in Leuven and Amsterdam, I did a year of graduate work at Philosophy Department of the University of Notre Dame, IN.

My PhD project is part of the Templeton funded research project ‘The Epistemic Responsibilities of the University’. It is concerned with epistemological questions in text hermeneutics. Our interpretations of texts often have epistemic goals: we interpret in order to obtain knowledge, understanding, or rational and justified beliefs. Much depends on this for our interpretations in fields like law, theology, and historiography. Yet how is it possible to obtain such epistemic goals in interpretation if the truism holds that the formation of interpretive beliefs is influenced significantly by our worldview, personal experiences, background beliefs, prejudices and the like? Doesn’t that make interpretation a thoroughly subjective affair?