Intentionalism and the Arts

                                     Recommended Reading


Art and Intention: A Philosophical Study by Professor Paisley Livingston






 The Death and Return of the Author: Criticism and Subjectivity in Barthes,

Foucault and Derrida by Sean Burke





Aesthetics (Fundamentals of Philosophy) by Colin Lyas







Issues in Art and Education: The Dynamics of Now by William Furlong







Intentionalist Interpretation by William Irwin







The Death and Resurrection of the Author by William Irwin






Is there a Single Right Interpretation? by Michael Krausz (ed)






Interpretation and Construction by Robert Stecker






Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before by Michael Fried







Art and Objecthood by Michael Fried







Intentions in the Experience of Meaning by Raymond W. Gibbs, Jr.







Interpretation. An Essay in the Philosophy of Literary Criticism by P.D.Juhl








Validity in Interpretation by E.D.Hirsch Jr.







The Aesthetic as the Science of Expression and of the Linguistics in General by B. Croce






A Theory of Art by Karol Berger






Art and Significance- an Anthology of Aesthetic Theory ed. by S.Ross






Cinema. Philosophy, Bergman by Paisley Livingston






Other well written texts to consider include:

  • Jerrold Levinson on ‘hypothetical intentionalism’: "Artworks and the Future", in Music, Art, and Metaphysics; and "Interpretation and Intention in Literature", in The Pleasures of Aesthetics, Cornell UP, 1996).
  • Noel Carroll on 'moderate actual intentionalism’: "Interpretation and Intention", Metaphilosophy, 2000.
  • Gary Iseminger, "Actual Intentionalism Vs. Hypothetical Intentionalism", Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 1996.
  • Peter Lamarque, "Objects of Interpretation", Metaphilosophy, 2000.
  • W.J.T. Mitchell (ed.), Against Theory , Chicogo UP, 1985, see especially the two papers by Knapp and Michaels.

Principle texts arguing primarily against the relevance of authorial intention include:

  • Lamarque, Peter (1990) ‘The Death of the Author: An Analytical Autopsy’ British Journal of Aesthetics 40(4); reprinted in Lamarque and Olsen(eds) Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
  • Dickie ,George and Wilson, W. Kent (1995) “The Intentional Fallacy: Defending Beardsley” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 53, No. 3, pp. 233-250


Recommended Secondary reading :

  • Beardsley, Monroe C. ‘Intentions and Interpretations: A Fallacy Revived’; reprinted in Lamarque and Olsen(eds) Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
  • Davies, S. (1982) “The Aesthetic Relevance of Authors’ and Painters’ Intentions.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 41.1: 65–76.
  • Davies, Stephen (2002) ‘Beardsley and the Autonomy of a Work of Art’ Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63(2)
  • Krook, Dorothea (1974). "Intentions and Intentions: The Problem of Intention and Henry James's The Turn of the Screw." In The Theory of the Novel: New Essays. Ed. John Halperin. New York: Oxford UP, 353-72.
  • Stecker, R. (2006) “Interpretation and the Problem of Relevant Intention.” Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art. Ed. M. Kieran. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 269–81.


    Other related reading:

    • Dutton, Denis. "Why Intentionalism Won't Go Away." In Literature and the Question of Philosophy. Ed. Anthony J. Cascardi. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1987. 192-209.*
    • Feagin, S. L. (1982) “On Defining and Interpreting Art Intentionalistically.” British Journal of Aesthetics 22.1: 65–77.
    • Hirsch, E. D. Jr. (1976)The Aims of Interpretation. Chicago, IL: U of Chicago P,.
    • Hirsch, E. D. Jr. (1967) Validity in Interpretation. New Haven, CT: Yale UP.
    • Iseminger, Gary, ed. (1992). Intention and Interpretation. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
    • Kiefer, A. (2005) “The Intentional Model in Interpretation.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63.3: 271–81.
    • Olsen, Stein ‘The “Meaning” of a Literary Work’ reprinted in Lamarque and Olsen(eds) Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
    • Shusterman, Richard. (1988) "Interpretation, Intention, and Truth." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 46 (Spring): 399-411.
    • Stecker, R. (1987) “Apparent, Implied and Postulated Authors.” Philosophy and Literature 11.2: 258–71.
    • Stecker, R. (1994)“Art Interpretation.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 52.2:193–206.
    • Stecker, R. (1993) “The Role of Intention and Convention in Interpreting Artworks.” Southern Journal of Philosophy 31.4: 471–89.
    Trivedi, S. (2001) “An Epistemic Dilemma for Actual Intentionalism.” British Journal of Aesthetics 41.2: 192–206.