Interpretation in Action: A Preliminary Inquiry

In Fernando Mão de Ferro (ed.), A Explicação da Interpretação Humana (Portuguese). Edições Colibri (2005)
Abstract
The term ‘human interpretation’ itself has two interpretations: interpretation by human beings and interpretation of human beings. We are all familiar with both kinds of interpretation in ordinary life. Marie interprets Sam’s remark as a sexual invitation; Joseph interprets the famous guest’s attire as an insult to the host. But as the organizers of our conference point out, we have no systematic explanation of human interpretation—either ‘of’ or ‘by’ human beings. Before embarking on a theory of human interpretation, however, we need to do some preliminary work. What is the explanandum of a theory of human interpretation? What is an explanation of human interpretation supposed to be an explanation of?
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