1h10m6s of the video
<quote>If you take a complex piece of literature like a Shakespeare play, there’s no end to the number of interpretations that you can make of it. You can interpret each word, each phrase, each sentence, each paragraph. You can interpret the entire play. The way you interpret it depends on how many books you’ve read, depends on your orientation in the world. It depends on a very large number of things, like how cultured you are, how much culture you lack, all of those things. It opens up a huge vista for potential interpretation.
How in the world are you going to extract out a canonical interpretation of something like that!? It’s like it’s not possible!
So there’s an infinite number of ways you can look at the world. And so how do we know that any one way is better than any other way? And that’s a good question. Now the post-modern answer was “we can’t”. And that’s not a good answer, because you drown in chaos under those circumstances. You can’t make sense of anything. And that’s not good because it’s not neutral to not make sense of things. It’s very anxiety provoking.
So you’re constrained by your own existence, and then you’re constrained by other people, and then you’re also constrained by the world. If I read Hamlet and what I extract out of that is that I should jump off a bridge, it’s like, it puts my interpretation to an end rather quickly. It doesn’t seem to be optimally functional, let’s say. And so an interpretation is constrained by the reality of the world. It’s constrained by the reality of other people, it’s constrained by your reality across time. There’s only a small number of interpretations that are going to work in that tightly defined space.
In Science, we call that testing a hypothesis / theory against the real world (e.g. via experimentation). And it’s much harder than it sounds, especially when dealing with complex subject matter. One needs large amounts of real-world knowledge to formulate hypotheses that have practical significance to the real world, coupled with sound analytical techniques to measure how much the hypothesis corresponds to (is useful to) the real world.