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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Authorial Intention and the Generation of Meaning-Knapp and Michaels'-Against Theory

I agree with Knapp and Michaels’ claim that language becomes accidental and merely “like language” if it’s deprived of an author. However, I do not agree that by taking away and author and authorial intent, the language loses all meaning. The article poses the question whether or not computers can have intention, and I believe that they can’t. Computers can replicate or perform the intentions of the program/programmer, but it is absurd to think that computers could have intention. The question of whether or not the sea could have intention isn’t relevant because the sea certainly cannot create/intend anything, it only reacts when biological or environmental factors act on it. However, to expose the truth about the necessity of authorial intent for the creation of meaning, imagine yourself dropping a glass of O.J. on the ground and the word “run” appears. Clearly the incident is a phenomenon, but its lack of authorial intent doesn’t stop your heart from speeding up, your adrenaline kicking in, and your eyes from the scanning the room. While in this case authorial intent doesn’t substantiate the meaning of word run, leading to a horror film chase scene like you’d expect, the language itself possess meaning and causes us to think twice about staying put.

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