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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What an open ended question.  Here is a perspective that might help. One of the most honest things a person can do when interpreting texts is to set forth what theories or presuppositions he or she employs. The reason for this is simple; theories and presuppositions will invariably influence all interpretations. However, there are difficulties. People are either unaware of what they carry when interpreting texts, or they are unwilling to admit their biases. Therefore, a good first step is to acknowledge the difficulties of divulging presuppositions and start a process of self-reflection. As a person matures in this area, he or she will be able to spell out with greater awareness (not full awareness) what theories he or she uses to interpret texts (and by implication life). The beauty of such an approach is that it is not only honest, but also humble in that it allows others to critique more meaningfully a person’s interpretations. If a person claims to be without a theory or theories, then a default theory will be employed, namely, a person’s common sense, which is the socially constructed theory of a person’s immediate social context.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous post was quite strong.  In my mind, the theoretical knowledge is a set of values or knowledge set that allows individuals to provide a sense of meaning or understanding to data in front of them.  Theoretical knowledge seems to operate as the frame within which everything is placed. It is essential for individuals to take their individual knowledge, examine it in both reflection and action, and develop it as they analyze others' theoretical knowledge.  Indeed, this serves as the basis for most biases and points of view, so to understand the application of theoretical knowledge in a particular setting or context is essential to being able to examine how ideas are put forth.