A Criticism of Theories of Meaning in Analytic Philosophy of Art

Document Type : Scientific-research


1 PhD candidate, Department of philosophy, Faculty of literature and human sciences, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

2 Associate Professor of philosophy, Department of philosophy, Faculty of literature and human sciences, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


Variations of different theories in analytic philosophy of art have caused long debates about literary interpretation. Intentionalism and anti-intentionalism are the two main avenues and theorists have developed different positions, which lean towards each of the two. Along with the arguments for or against the link between the authorial intentions and the literary text, a question could be asked of different parties of the debate, that is, how the meaning of a piece of literature is constituted. In other words, how the meaning of a poem or a novel takes its shape? In this regard, I think, concentrating on the philosophy of language and theories of meaning would be much helpful. It seems to me that for answering this question one needs to withdraw from a Gricean theory of meaning. I argue that neither intentionalists nor anti-intentionalist, do not answer this question deftly. I will try to investigate some answers given to this question by two moderate intentionalists, Robert Stecker and Paisley Livingston, in order to show in which respects their answers are problematic. At last, I argue that Relevance Theory, developed by Deirdre Wilson and Dan Sperber, could answer this question in a way that dissolves some of the hard cases in the philosophy of interpretation.


Main Subjects

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