Synopses & Reviews
Interpretation and Construction
examines the interpretation of intentional human behavior, focusing primarily on issues in art, law, and everyday speech.
The centerpiece of the book is the examination of two large-scale views about the nature of interpretation: historicism and constructivism. Historicists claim that interpretations discover meaning; constructivists claim that interpretations create meaning. Building on both views, Stecker offers a comprehensive theory of interpretation. Containing one of the clearest expositions of the issues and arguments that guide the debate, the book also offers an original way of resolving it that gives both historicists and constructivists their due.
Written by one of the leading figures on the theory of interpretation, this book will be of particular interest to philosophers of art and legal theorists, and to anyone interested in the problems posed by the interpretation of human artifacts, behavior, and speech.
"Stecker is a key player in contemporary philosophical debates about interpretation. In his new book these debates are systematically and even-handedly expounded and Stecker's own distinctive position – a version of historicism and pluralism – defended with meticulous attention to detail. I would recommend his book both to those entering the debates for the first time and to those already well engaged." Peter Lamarque, University of York
"In characteristic fashion, Robert Stecker has written a carefully considered and well-crafted book. Interpretation and Construction addresses key issues that have become the subjects of lively debate. It is an important contribution that will be of special interest to philosophers of art, literature, history, and law." Michael Krausz, Bryn Mawr College
"Robert Stecker has thoughtfully and comprehensively advanced our understanding of ‘interpretation,’ skillfully surveying historicist and constructivist approaches. Of special interest, he addresses both art and law, two seemingly disparate areas in which theories of ‘interpretation’ have flourished, but have rarely been considered together." Julie C. Van Camp, California State University, Long Beach
"Overall, the arguments are interesting, extremely careful, and certainly make a significant contribution to the theory of interpretation. Not only does the book have much to offer to scholars, its arguments are easily accessible to students." Choice
"Overall, the arguments are interesting, extremely careful, and certainly make a significant contribution to the theory of interpretation. Not only does the book have much to offer to scholars, its arguments are easily accessible to students." Choice, December 2003
Interpretation and Construction examines the interpretation and products of intentional human behavior, focusing primarily on issues in art, law, and everyday speech.
About the Author
Robert Stecker is Professor of Philosophy at Central Michigan University. He is the author of Artworks: Definition, Meaning, Value and many articles in aesthetics, the philosophy of language, and the history of modern philosophy.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgements.
1. Interpreting the Everyday.
2. Art Interpretation: the Central Issues.
3. A Theory of Art Interpretation: Substantive Claims.
4. A Theory of Art Interpretation: Conceptual and Ontological Claims.
5. Radical Constructivism.
6. Moderate and Historical Constructivism.
7. Interpretation and Construction in the Law.
8. Relativism v. Pluralism.