Posted by Kate on July 30, 1998 at 09:06:14:
In response to Not theoretically..., written by Joan, too on July 29, 1998 at 21:17:49
] It's my own opinion that our ability to discover the intentions of the author of any written material is based on the author's ability to use language in a way that will be understood by the reader with a minimum of ambiguity or outright error. Of course the consequences of poor communication vary a lot in importance depending on the type of written material that one is seeking to understand, but the basic principles of analysis with respect to determining the intent of the author are based on the widely accepted common understandings that were held by the "audience" at the time that the written material was created.
The problems with trying to decide authorial intent for a document like the constitution are first, that there was no single author but a whole bunch of people who probably had different intentions, second, that there is very limited information about what they thought they were doing - and it only comes from a couple of individuals, and therefore doesn't reflect what the whole range of understandings were, three, that sone of the language used was deliberately vague. Finally, it seems that it was the intention of at least some of the constitution's writers that its interpretation should change to reflect changing circumstances.... so how does that fit in ;-)
But this is way off topic, and feels far too much like work and I'm supposed to be on vacation!
- Not off-topic at all - Authorial intent Joan, too 22:17:09 7/30/98 (0)
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