When artists fail: A reply to Trivedi

British Journal of Aesthetics 42 (1):64-72 (2002)
Abstract
In a recent article, ‘An Epistemic Dilemma for Actual Intentionalism’, Saam Trivedi argues that the way we ought to interpret artworks is best understood using the model proposed by hypothetical intentionalism. Trivedi alleges that actual intentionalism faces a serious dilemma, the upshot of which is that actual intentionalists must choose between redundancy and indeterminacy. Largely on the basis of this dilemma, he concludes that even if actual intentionalism is descriptively accurate, it is prescriptively untenable. In this essay, I focus on this alleged dilemma and argue that, contra Trivedi, it fails to undermine the prescriptive legitimacy of moderate actual intentionalism. That is, Trivedi's dilemma does not offer us a good reason to refrain from working to understand works of art under the methodological guidance of actual intentionalism.
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