In Defence of Moderate Actual Intentionalism


  • Frederick Hulbert University of Kent



Contemporary Visual Art, Literary Theory, Interpretation, Intentionalism


The extent to which the artist’s intentions are a relevant consideration in the interpretation of art has long been the subject of critical debate.  Initially, I outline the various interpretive positions which have been established, specifically focusing on the debate between hypothetical intentionalism and moderate actual intentionalism.  Then I look at some previous test cases which have, as yet, failed to demonstrate a decisive victory for either side. Finally, I offer two new test cases, one from the field of contemporary visual art and the other from literary theory.  I argue that the former serves to debunk hypothetical intentionalism and the latter lends support to the moderate actual intentionalist position.


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