Economics Dictionary of Arguments

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Interpretation: A) Making statements about other statements, whereby new vocabulary may be introduced. If no new vocabulary is introduced, new information can be obtained by changing the syntactic grouping.
B) In logic, interpretation is the insertion of values (objects) instead of the constants or free variables.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

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Charles Taylor on Interpretation - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 65
Interpretation/Charles Taylor/Forbes: Charles Taylor (1971)(1), the classic plea for interpretation in the social sciences, argued that political phenomena should be regarded as analogous to obscure texts, in need of translation or interpretive explication. As with texts, so with political phenomena: we do not understand them until we understand their meanings.
Forbes: Opinion polls and other surveys (e.g. Almond and Verba, 1963)(2) may be some help, but since the relevant meanings are not just ‘subjective’ (and more or less widely shared) but also ‘intersubjective’ (and thus not normally topics for discussion or even reflection), direct answers to direct questions will often be unrevealing. The deeper meanings we seek can be brought to light only by the kind of ‘thick description’ exemplified in Clifford Geertz’s famous (1973)(3) analysis of Balinese cockfighting.
Perhaps the best label today for what Taylor and Geertz represent is the title of this section, ‘intentional analysis’. It avoids the unhelpful breadth of ‘interpretation’, the novelty and obscurity of ‘thick description’, the distracting associations of ‘hermeneutics’, and the misleading suggestion, implicit in the old contrast between explanation and understanding (von Wright, 1971)(4), that the clarification of intentions is not explanatory. It puts the emphasis squarely on the purposive character of individual actions and social institutions and clearly suggests the need for careful analysis, since the relevant purposes may not be obvious or easily stated.

1. Taylor, Charles (1985 [1971]) ‘Interpretation and the sciences of man’. In his Philosophy and the Human Sciences, Philosophical Papers, vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 15–57.
2. Almond, Gabriel and Sidney Verba (1963) The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
3. Geertz, Clifford (1973) The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. New York: Basic.
4. Von Wright, Georg Henrik (1971) Explanation and Understanding. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Forbes, H. Donald 2004. „Positive Political Theory“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

EconTayl I
John Brian Taylor
Discretion Versus Policy Rules in Practice 1993

Taylor III
Lance Taylor
Central Bankers, Inflation, and the Next Recession, in: Institute for New Economic Thinking (03/09/19), URL: 9/3/2019

TaylorB II
Barry Taylor
"States of Affairs"
Truth and Meaning, G. Evans/J. McDowell, Oxford 1976

TaylorCh I
Charles Taylor
The Language Animal: The Full Shape of the Human Linguistic Capacity Cambridge 2016

Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004

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