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Abstract

In this article I shall address the standing of intentionalist theories of interpretation through Richard Rorty’s critique. Rorty’s criticism arises from the position literature holds in the postmetaphysical, liberal culture Rorty sketches As a counterbalance to Rorty’s critique, I shall develop an intentionalist theory of interpretation drawing on Donald Davidson’s late philosophy of language and his view of literary interpretation that have sadly not been taken into proper consideration in the on-going debate in analytic aesthetics on the role of authorial intentions in interpretation. The prospects of Davidson’s intentionalism for meeting Rorty’s criticism are related to the position of imagination in the Davidsonian approach. By indicating the connections between the position of imagination in Davidson’s views and how it has in turn been approached in contemporary pragmatist-inspired moral philosophy, I shall argue that an intentionalist theory is, after all, able to meet those challenges that Rorty sees literature and literary theory facing in his postmetaphysical culture.

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