ABSTRACT

The aim of this article is threefold. The first section deals with traditional hermeneutic anthropocentrism, focusing in particular on Dilthey and Heidegger and their reflections on nature and animals. For both of them, although from different perspectives, interpretatio naturae (interpretation of nature) is no more than a figurative expression. In the second section, recent developments in the emerging fields of environmental hermeneutics and biohermeneutics are accounted for. In particular, the author distinguishes between two main attitudes. Some researchers have argued that nature might be considered as an object of interpretation. Others have said that nature can also be seen as a proper subject of interpretation. In the third section, the ideas developed in the context of environmental hermeneutics and biohermeneutics are “translated” into the field of digital technologies. The author presents “digital hermeneutics” as an emerging field in which three levels can be isolated: (1) a level “zero,” at which hermeneutics (especially the Heideggerian version) has been used to mark a clear distinction between humans and nonhumans (machines); (2) a level “one,” at which the interpretation is considered the result of the articulation between human and nonhuman intentionalities; and (3) a level “two” that is still emerging and that would consist of wondering if it is legitimate to attribute autonomous interpretational agency to digital technologies, or at least to part of them.

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