Thomas Kent believes that in the process of attempting to communicate or make an understanding between two parties, each side will attempt to present their information in a way that the other will be able to interpret and accept. However, neither side is actually certain what will work, so they simply guess. Hence the name of Kent's particular brand of paralogy, Paralogic Hermeneutics:
we employ a conceptual scheme or hermeneutic strategy to help us make use of the languages we are thrown into. Therefore, a conceptual scheme works as a kind of guessing gameor storytellingwhere each of us possesses a hermeneutic strategy that we employ in order to communicate with an-other, a strategy that the other may or may not share. 11
Paralogic hermeneutics relies heavily on the work of Donald Davidson and employs Davidson's terms of prior theory and passing theory to explain the dynamic act of communication between two parties.
Prior theory and passing theory can be thought of as tools that each side brings to the job of communication. Both parties are equipped with a vast array of items in their interpretive "toolbox" that can be used in any given situation, but generally a communicator will choose a certain set from the toolbox depending on the particular communicative scenario. The prior theory for the reader would include the tools he believes in advance will be needed for the particular communication "job," while the passing theory equates to the set of tools actually used in that "job." For the author, the prior theory is the set of tools she predicts the reader will use and the passing theory is the set she thinks the reader is using at any given time.
Once the author and reader are united in the act of attempting communication, the dynamic interaction begins. Both must share the same passing theory to achieve communication, but because they have made selections in advance, the tools may not match the actual communicative situation. In the process of throwing out guesses they will modify the separate passing theories until the two become one. As Kent describes it,
they guess about the meaning of one another's sentences, (and) they together arrive at a passing theory, a unique hermeneutic strategy, that will enable them to understand one another in their own singular situation. 12