Meaning and understanding in the history of ideas

History and Theory 8 (1):3-53 (1969)

Abstract

Emphasis on autonomy of texts presupposes that there are perennial concepts. But researchers' expectations may turn history into mythology of ideas; researchers forget that an agent cannot be described as doing something he could not understand as a description, and that thinking may be inconsistent. They will never uncover voluntary oblique strategies and by treating ideas as units will confuse sentences with statements. On the other hand, a contextual approach to the meaning of texts dismisses ideas as unimportant effects. Neither method shows how what was said was meant is crucial for understanding. There are no perennial problems; philosophers of different times do not speak directly to us. But history of ideas helps us recognize the contingency of many of our beliefs.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,694

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2013-09-09

Downloads
223 (#52,455)

6 months
16 (#52,305)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references

Similar books and articles

On Epistemic Conceptions of Meaning: Use, Meaning and Normativity.Daniel Whiting - 2009 - European Journal of Philosophy 17 (3):416-434.
The Logic of the History of Ideas.Mark Bevir - 1999 - Cambridge University Press.
Meaning Without Theory.Stephen Turner - 2011 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 5 (3):352-369.
On the Liberty of the Ancients and the Moderns: A Reply to My Critics.Quentin Skinner - 2012 - Journal of the History of Ideas 73 (1):127-146.
Hume on Meaning.Walter Ott - 2006 - Hume Studies 32 (2):233-252.