Context, Intention and Historical Understanding

Gábor Szécsi
2019 Belvedere Meridionale  
The aim of this article is to indicate how a version of intentionalist theory of linguistic communication can be adapted as a part of a contextualist methodology of the history of ideas. In other words, we attempt to clear up the way of harmonizing the theory that communication takes place when a hearer/reader grasps an utterer's intention with the methodological conception according to which a historian of ideas must concentrate his attention on the context in which in his past author was
more » ... ast author was writing. This article argues that a plausible solution to this problem is suggested in some influential methodological essays by Quentin Skinner. Therefore we shall discuss, on the one hand, the place of an intentionalist model of communication in Skinner's methodology by providing a brief outline of the main theses of contextualism and intentionalism. On the other hand, we deal with some epistemological problems raised by the application of contextualist method. In particular, we consider the questions that can be raised about the manner in which a historian can grasp an author's intention.
doi:10.14232/belv.2019.4.1 fatcat:ghp7tautu5f2lbn2inwengvx2m