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Consider the context

When practising critical reading, it is crucial to be aware of the context of the text.

Before reading a text, ask :

  • What do you want to gain from reading this topic?
  • What are your existing beliefs?
  • What do you think you know about the topic already?
  • What philosophical movement does the author belong to?
  • How does this text fit within their main work?
  • Take into account the historical and cultural context of the text, the author, and yourself.

It is not practical to go through this process every time you read, but keeping these questions in mind will help you to understand the text.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

We often forget that our interpretation of a text is influenced by our preexisting beliefs, knowledge and expectations.

Interpreting a text doesn't happen out of context. The concept of the hermeneutic circle is to understand the whole by seeing how the parts interact with each other, and how they interact with the whole.

Allow your initial understanding to change. If your first interpretation improved, it's a good sign of critical reading.

To allow for the hermeneutic circle to be effective, re-read the text a few times or at least read the parts that are most interesting to you.

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