Thursday, April 29, 2010
The Argumentation in "Against Theory"
Using Hirsch to attack Hirsch and basing an entire argument on his faux pas is all moot. Knapp and Michael's claim that, "From the standpoint of an argument against critical theory...the only important question about intention is whether there can in fact be intentionless meanings. If our argument against theory is to succeed, the answer to this question must be no." is outrageously asinine. There can be no such thing as "intentionless meanings". From the lowliest child's book to the most advanced medical journal and everything in between and every other media form there is, contains some sort of meaning. Regarding their example of the scribblings in the sand the words still maintain their meaning whether or not they "merely...resemble" words. As for the author's intention, that is beside the point. Even Formalist theorists, who read texts for what is there and do not speculate as to meaning, cannot always regard authorial intention. Every reader of a text is "wired" a different way and interpret things differently. The fault with Knapp and Michael's argument against theory comes in its principle. It just cannot be done.