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Here's what unites the (rhtetorically gullible) Liberals [View All]

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ithinkmyliverhurts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 10:48 PM
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Here's what unites the (rhtetorically gullible) Liberals
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Edited on Sat Jun-19-04 11:16 PM by grendelsuncle
and the Conservatives. The intentional fallacy:

Since we have no way of knowing what an author (at least a dead one) meant to say, we can only assume that the meaning of a text must be derived from reading it closely. This suggests that even when we have statements about any author's intention (such as diary entries, critical essays, or new works from living authors--even speeches or impromptu press conferences), the text means only what it says. Even if Walt Whitman were to rise up out of his grave, drink a bottle of wine, and tell us "That's not what I meant," the close reader ought to be abke ti respond, "But that's what you said, so that's what it means."

Now, I understant that there are numerous problems with this position further down the hermeneutical road, but most people don't seem to be prepared to combat this argument or are not able to articulate why they accept it. Just look at the "Iraq/AL Qaedea connection" debate. Everyone wants to argue context and not what was said/written.

Context has its place, but it's not primary.

Why do we allow them to argue context when they want to and to argue exact words when they want to?

"It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is" is perfectly logical question regarding verb tense (especially before a grand jury). The repubs. only want to look at that line without full textual (note not cultural or historical) context. Yet the Iraq/Al Qaeda connections must have full context to fill in the gaps . . . until the gaps are inconvenient, then we just move to the exact words used ("They had contact with Iraq," etc.). Just make them choose (which means we have to choosee--but we'll com with facts no matter what).
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