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De Man, Benzon, Meaning, Intention

miércoles 23 de junio de 2010

de Man, Benzon, Meaning, Intention

On the poststructuralist theory of meaning; a comment to this passage on "Language Games" in Bill Benzon's New Savannah:

Consider this passage (de Man, p. 25):

“Intent” is seen, by analogy with a physical model, as a transfer of a psychic or mental content that exists in the mind of the poet to the mind of a reader, somewhat as one would pour wine from a jar into a glass. A certain content has to be transferred elsewhere, and the energy necessary to effect the transfer has to come from an outside source called intention.

De Man’s point was that, when we read a text, the intention (de Man uses the term in its somewhat rarified philosophical sense) that gives life to those signs on the page is our intention, not the author’s. And he is right.

(My commentary:)

On your comment on the text by de Man: it is all right "our" intention that animates the text and constructs meaning, but "our" intention cannot mean the intention of an isolated reader: it is a shared intention, shared by that reader with other readers of the same text with whom one would want to communicate, and also with the author. There is a community of meaning ranging across space and time; not a solid community of clear-cut meaning (there are fuzzy edges, negotiations as you say, etc.) but an interactive community nonetheless, and the author is part of that. Therefore, authorial intention cannot be dismissed any more than our own intentions as readers, and the communicative intent that we share with our own addressees when we try to make sense of a text.

Teoría interaccionalista del significado

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