Semantic Analysis

Semantic Analysis

Semantic Analysis

Semantic Analysis

Excerpt

Some years ago while working on a manuscript in aesthetics I thought it would be helpful to say at least roughly what the phrase 'good painting' means in English. And so I tried to say. But then I began to wonder what had led me to say what I did, particularly in light of the fact that what I had said appeared to be contrary to received opinion. I then wrote what is essentially the concluding Part VI of this essay. But having done that, I was still troubled by questions of confirmation: Why should anyone believe what I said? What made me think it was so? And so I worked back and back to the beginning of this essay.

What I have to say is of interest to me. I suppose it will be of some interest to some others. But I have never given serious thought to such matters. I have been seriously concerned with this: that what I say be so, or true, or right, or correct, and so forth. So I have tried not to say what is not so, or what is false, or not true, or untrue, or incorrect, and so forth. I do not believe that I have succeeded. I have found something wrong every time I have gone over this essay: the induction is depressing.

Although I have been concerned not to say what is not so, I have not been over concerned not to be misleading. I believe that if one writes precisely one is nowadays bound to mislead many. It seems that nowadays hardly anyone pays any attention to what a man says, only to what one thinks he means. But virtually no such exegesis, virtually no such interpretation, virtually no such construal, is called for here. If I say what is stupid, do not say "What he must have meant is such-and-such": I almost certainly meant what I said and if it was . . .

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