Intentions: Negotiated, Contested, and Ignored

Intentions: Negotiated, Contested, and Ignored

by Arabella Lyon


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Intentions: Negotiated, Contested, and Ignored by Arabella Lyon

The relationship between an author's and an audience's intentions is complex but need not preclude mutual engagement. This philosophical investigation challenges existing literary and rhetorical perspectives on intention and offers a new framework for understanding the negotiation of meaning. It describes how an audience's intentions affect their interpretations, shows how audiences negotiate meaning when faced with a writer's undecipherable intentions, and defines the scope of understanding within rhetorical situations.

Introducing a concept of intention into literary analysis that supersedes existing rhetorical theory, Arabella Lyon shows how the rhetorics of I. A. Richards, Wayne Booth, and Stanley Fish, as well as the hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer, fail to account for the complex interactions of author and audience. Using Kenneth Burke's concepts of form, motive, and purpose, she builds a more complex notion of intention than those usually found in literary studies, then employs her theory to describe how philosophers read Wittgenstein's narratives, metaphors, and reversals in argument.

Lyon argues that our differences in intention prevent consistency in interpretations but do not stop our discussions, deliberations, and actions. She seeks to acknowledge difference and the communicative problems it creates while demonstrating that difference is normal and does not end our engagement with each other.

Intentions combines recent work in philosophy, literary criticism, hermeneutics, and rhetoric in a highly imaginative way to construct a theory of intention for a postmodern rhetoric. It recovers and renovates central concepts in rhetorical theory—not only intention but also deliberation, politics, and judgment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780271025049
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication date: 06/11/2004
Series: Literature and Philosophy
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.69(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction: Intentions Assumed 1(26)
Literary Rhetorics, Ethics, and Cultural Orthodoxies
Intention, Invention, and Interpretation: Rhetoric at the End of the Twentieth Century
Kenneth Burke on Form, Motive, and Purpose
Hinge/Acknowledging Prejudices
Just Say No: Intentions Ignored
Wittgenstein's Stories: Desiring Less and Accruing More
Metaphors as Enthymemes: The Evolution of Language-Games and Form of Life
Works Cited 197(14)
Index 211

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