Goal of interpretation


Actual intentionalism

Meaning of work is what author intended

What did artist mean? Goal of art is communication

Unrealized intentions

Moderate actual intentionalism

Meaning is author’s realized intentions (in part)

What did the artist successfully mean?


Hypothetical intentionalism

Meaning determined by most justified account of what some author might have intended

What a possible author most likely to have meant by this work

Author’s actual intentions might be very different

Value maximization

Interpretation should maximize work’s artistic value

Goal of interpretation to maximize the rewards of appreciation (consistent with respecting the identity and content of work)

Goal of interpretation should be to understand art (including its weaknesses)

Meaning constructivism

Interpretations create new artworks

To create significance for the interpreter

Interpretations (like descriptions or pointing at things) don’t alter what they interpret

“Best fit view”

Privileges the interpretation(s) that seems to best fit the text/artwork, independent of artist’s intentions or maximizing artistic value or reading in significance for audiences