Intention and Literary Interpretation

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dc.contributor.advisor Davies, S en
dc.contributor.advisor Kroon, F en
dc.contributor.advisor McKeown-Green, J en Lin, Szu-Yen en 2018-01-26T02:38:45Z en 2018 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract This thesis looks into the debate over intention and interpretation in the artistic context, and focuses on literature in particular. The main issue here is whether or not the author’s intention is relevant to the interpretation of her work. I critically discuss the major positions in the analytic tradition and defend my view in the final chapter. The position that rejects appeal to external evidence of authorial intent is called antiintentionalism, which claims that linguistic convention determines work-meaning and that such convention is all the interpreter needs. This position, alternatively called conventionalism, suffers from the contextualist criticism that contextual factors, aside from linguistic convention, play a crucial part in determining work-meaning. A variation on anti-intentionalism is the value-maximizing theory, which holds that the interpreter should look for interpretations that maximize the work’s value within the limits set by relevant linguistic (and perhaps contextual) factors. However, some philosophers disagree that aesthetic satisfaction is the primary aim of interpretation. Contra anti-intentionalism, actual intentionalism claims that authorial intention is an indispensable element in interpretation. The extreme version identifies what a work means with what the author intends it to mean, and is widely seen as implausible. The moderate version acknowledges failed intentions, and claims that when an intention fails meaning is determined by convention plus context. I argue that the moderate version has a difficulty in giving convention and context the same credit for meaning-determination as authorial intent. A middle course between actual intentionalism and anti-intentionalism is hypothetical intentionalism, which maintains that work-meaning is determined by the intention which the appropriate audience is best justified in attributing to the author. A variation on this position holds that it is the postulated or implied author’s intention that determines work-meaning. I argue this latter position is more convincing because it does a better job in balancing interpretative freedom and constraints. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99265084211202091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
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dc.rights.uri en
dc.title Intention and Literary Interpretation en
dc.type Thesis en Philosophy en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 722312 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2018-01-26 en

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