British Journal of Aesthetics 46 (3):223-247 (2006)

I discuss three theories regarding the interpretation of fictional literature: actual intentionalism (author's intentions constrain how their works are to be interpreted), hypothetical intentionalism (interpretations are justified as those most likely intended by a postulated author), and the value-maximizing theory (interpretations presenting the work in the most favourable light are to be preferred). I claim that actual intentionalism cannot account for the appropriateness or legitimacy of some interpretations, or alternatively that it must be weakened to the point that the considerations raised by hypothetical intentionalists and value maximizers come into play. And I argue that hypothetical intentionalism either reduces to the value-maximizing theory, which provides a more accurate and clearer expression of the position than does hypothetical intentionalism, or it mistakenly attributes to hypothesized intentions the kind of force that attaches only to actual intentions.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ayl001
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,265
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Aesthetic Practices and Normativity.Robbie Kubala - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2):408-425.
A New Class of Fictional Truths.Hannah H. Kim - 2021 - The Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1):90-107.
Literary Intentionalism.Robbie Kubala - 2019 - Metaphilosophy 50 (4):503-515.
Aesthetic Obligations.Robbie Kubala - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (12):1-13.
Arguments From Aesthetic Merit to Fictional Content.Adrian Bruhns, Tobias Klauk & Tilmann Köppe - 2020 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 78 (2):209-218.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Intention, Interpretation and Contemporary Visual Art.Hans Maes - 2010 - British Journal of Aesthetics 50 (2):121-138.
When Artists Fail: A Reply to Trivedi.Sheila Lintott - 2002 - British Journal of Aesthetics 42 (1):64-72.
Defending Hypothetical Intentionalism.Jerrold Levinson - 2010 - British Journal of Aesthetics 50 (2):139-150.
Historical Interpretation, Intentionalism and Philosophy of Mind.Vivienne Brown - 2007 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 1 (1):25-62.


Added to PP index

Total views
177 ( #66,347 of 2,507,713 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #139,870 of 2,507,713 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes