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Chari, V.K., , . Validity in Interpretation: Some Indian Views
1978, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 36(3): 329-340.
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Added by: Meilin Chinn, Contributed by:

Summary: An outline of the theory of interpretation within the language philosophies of ancient India. Chari organizes this extensive history according to topics such as verbal autonomy, intention, unity of meaning, polysemy, contextualism, and interpretation.

Comment: This text is appropriate for discussions of language and meaning in aesthetics, as well as philosophy of language.

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Sigman, Jill, , . Self-Mutilation, Interpretation and Controversial Art
2003, Midwest Studies in Philosophy 27(1): 88–114.
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Added by: Rossen Ventzislavov, Contributed by:

Summary: Sigman studies outrage and offense in the art context. The first important observation she makes is that, often enough, the public’s recoiling from a piece of art comes with the assumption that the object of offense is interpretatively transparent. This is because in the absence of art-historical or theoretical wherewithal, we default to pre-conceptual reactions – fear of otherness, loss of our ethical bearings, low self-esteem etc. Since most historical offense-based arguments against art have made a claim that the particular work is demeaning to the public, Sigman carefully lays out the features of demeaning treatment – a mostly intentional act that treats persons as less than persons, usually in an abusive manner. On this description, very few artworks could be considered demeaning. Furthermore, as Sigman shows in her art-historical contextualization of artist Stelarc’s performance work Street Suspension, public outrage could be tempered and/or extinguished through attentive engagement with problematic artworks.

Comment: This is a thought-provoking text which can provide good background for a debate on controversial art. It is quite easy to read and features examples which make it accessible for beginners classes on aesthetics, art interpretation, the value of art, and modern art in general.

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Stock, Kathleen, , . Only imagine: fiction, interpretation and imagination
2017, Oxford: Oxford University Press
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by:

Abstract: In the first half of this book, I offer a theory of fictional content or, as it is sometimes known, ‘fictional truth’.The theory of fictional content I argue for is ‘extreme intentionalism’. The basic idea – very roughly, in ways which are made precise in the book – is that the fictional content of a particular text is equivalent to exactly what the author of the text intended the reader to imagine. The second half of the book is concerned with showing how extreme intentionalism and the lessons learnt from it can illuminate cognate questions in the philosophy of fiction and imagination. For instance, I argue, my position helps us to explain how fiction can provide us with reliable testimony; it helps explain the phenomenon of imaginative resistance; and it fits with, and so supports, a persuasive theory of the nature of fiction itself. In my final chapter, I show how attending to intentionalist practices of interpreting fictional content can illuminate the nature of propositional imagining itself.

Comment: This book would be good to read chapter by chapter in a module which focussed exclusively on it, perhaps with supplemantary readings which relate to the topic of each chapter. It would be a good for a third year module.

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