Original Meanings and Historical Interpretation

Nicholas Jardine

in The Scenes of Inquiry

Published in print September 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250395
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681288 | DOI:
Original Meanings and Historical Interpretation

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This chapter begins by reviewing the question-oriented account of historical understanding of explaining scenes of inquiry, local reality, and interpretation. It follows with an argument of an account that avoids the most blatant forms of hermeneutic circularity, unlike related question-oriented accounts. It then discusses the main topic, the relation between the explication of historical understanding and the craft of historical interpretation. In particular, it examines the validity of two additional criteria of adequacy of interpretation: faithfulness to authorial intention and imputation of consistency. It argues that the theoretical account pointed out in this chapter entails definite stances on these issues, and that these stances are in good accord with common sense and sound historical practice. The chapter concludes with a reflection on the prospects for extension of this account from the history of philosophy and the sciences to the history of writings in general.

Keywords: explication; historical understanding; adequacy of interpretation; faithfulness; authorial intention; imputation of consistency; hermeneutic circularity

Chapter.  6576 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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