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Contemplating ArtEssays in Aesthetics$
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Jerrold Levinson

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199206179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206179.001.0001

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Two Notions of Interpretation

Two Notions of Interpretation

(p.275) 16 Two Notions of Interpretation
Contemplating Art

Jerrold Levinson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This essay brings into relief a distinction among semantic interpretations or among activities of semantic interpreting, which cuts across verbal and non-verbal phenomena. The distinction is between interpretations that aim to answer the question ‘Whatdoessuch and such mean?’ and those that aim to answer the question ‘Whatcouldsuch and such mean?’, the former exemplifying thedeterminativemode and the latter theexploratorymode of interpreting. The essay also investigates the relationship between determinative and exploratory interpretation in a given inquiry, and the varying, sometimes interlocking, motivations with which determinative and exploratory interpretations are undertaken.

Keywords:   semantic interpreting, meaning, determinative mode, exploratory mode, inquiry

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