While supporting radical anti-essentialism and the primacy of practical choices in delineating objects of inquiry, this paper spells out the constellation ‘beliefspractices-meaning-objects-inquiry-texts-interpretation’ in a manner alternative to that suggested by Rorty’s strong textualism based on the conception of ‘inquiry as recontextualisation’. The perspective of hermeneutic phenomenology on the constitution of meaning is applied in the analysis of that constellation. Scientific inquiry is presented as a process of textualising contextualised in configurations of ‘readable technologies’. The approach to the constitution of contextual units in scientific inquiry by reading theoretical objects forges arguments for the position of hermeneutic realism as opposed to epistemological behaviourism.
South African Journal of Philosophy 2014, 33(3): 285–296