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The Errors of Linguistic Contextualism

Abstract

This article argue against both hard linguistic-contextualists who believe that paradigms give meaning to a text and soft linguistic-contextualists who believe that we can grasp authorial intentions only by locating them in a contemporaneous conventional context. Instead it proposes that meanings come from intentions and that there can be no fixed way of recovering intentions. On these grounds the article concludes first that we can declare some understandings of texts to be unhistorical though not illegitimate, and second that good history depends solely on accurate and reasonable evidence, not on adopting a particular method.

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