Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Aims of Interpretation… Meaning as Postulation

HIRSCH, E.D. (1976) The Aims of Interpretation. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

“On the other hand, if we did not, in actual speech, constantly adjust our original meaning postulates, we could never speak or understand language with novelty, flexibility or precision. Language requires not only our intuition that this meaning is only provisional. Both intuitions are right; they do not conflict; they are, in fact, coordinate. Still, it is fair to say that the more comprehensive intuition is the one that goes beyond our isolated meaning-expectations and recognizes their provisional character whenever we actually use and understand language.” (p63)

Meaning is provisionally a postulation until the fullness of understanding can be arrived at. How a meaning comes out of a position of postulation and develops into an accepted ‘fact’ does depend on the intuition of the person to know that there is no conflict of reasoning on which the meaning is built. 

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