History and Theory 30 (3):302-323 (1991)

Abstract
Those who doubt the objectivity of historical interpretations of the meaning of texts either ignore the quite stringent conventional criteria by which such interpretations are justified, as Jacques Derrida did, or they overlook the cognitive significance of those criteria, as Hans-Georg Gadamer did. Historical interpretations of the meaning of old texts which satisfy five presented criteria are objective both in the sense of being rationally defensible and in the sense of being correct. The five criteria are that the interpretation does not violate any of the semantic and syntactic rules of the language in which it is written; resolves any obscurities of reference and ambiguities of meaning arising from these rules; provides a coherent body of information; performs the first three functions to a much greater degree than any other interpretation which the text warrants; and perhaps convincingly explains away any failure to perform the first three functions. To arrive at an interpretation which satisfies these criteria, an interpreter first studies the literal meaning of the text, according to the rules of its language, and if need be, then examines the literary and the historical contexts in which the text was produced, and finally may even find it necessary to reconstruct the author's intention in writing it. Secondary interpretations of a text are preferred which colligate a large number of facts about the text, and give a fair representation of its meaning as a whole. Numerous examples both illustrate and confirm the theory presented
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/2505560
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,946
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Explaining Understanding (or Understanding Explanation).Wesley Van Camp - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (1):95-114.
Objective Evidence and Absence: Comment on Sober.Michael Strevens - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (1):91 - 100.
From Everything Outside Mind to Those Inside.Xinyan Zhang - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 44:87-97.
The Reuse of Texts in Indian Philosophy: Introduction.Elisa Freschi - 2015 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 43 (2-3):85-108.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-04-01

Total views
8 ( #956,727 of 2,427,248 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #540,061 of 2,427,248 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes