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Interpretation: A) making statements about other statements, whereby the new statements of the vocabulary make use of the original statements and possibly introduce new vocabulary. If no new vocabulary is introduced, new information can be obtained by changing the syntactic elements.
B) In logic, 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.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Postmodernism on Interpretation - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 25
Interpretation/Postmodernism/Ball: The postmodern sensibility is not a single, stable thing. There are, to simplify somewhat, two main versions of postmodernist interpretation. One derives largely from Nietzsche and Foucault; the other, from Derrida.
, >F. Nietzsche.
A Foucauldian approach to interpretation seeks to expose and criticize the myriad ways in which human beings are ‘normalized’ or made into ‘subjects’, i.e. willing participants in their own subjugation (Foucault, 1980)(1).
>M. Foucault.
Thus a postmodernist perspective on the interpretation of texts typically focuses on the ways in which earlier thinkers (...) contributed ideas to the mentalité that paved the way for the creation and legitimation of the modern surveillance society. And conversely postmodernist interpreters look for earlier thinkers who challenged or questioned or undermined these ideas. This Foucauldian approach is well represented by William Connolly’s Political Theory and Modernity (1988)(2).
Interpretation: A postmodernist rereading relocates and realigns earlier thinkers along altogether different axes. A postmodernist reading of the history of political thought not only exposes heretofore unsuspected villains, it also reveals heroes who have dared to resist the pressures and processes of ‘normalization’. Amongst the former are Hobbes and Rousseau.
>Th. Hobbes, >J.-J. Rousseau.
That the historical Rousseau was exceedingly critical of the historical Hobbes does not matter for a postmodernist reading. For we can now see them as birds of a feather, each having extended ‘the gaze’ ever more deeply into the inner recesses of the human psyche, thereby aiding and abetting the subjugation of modern men and women.
BallVs: Whether this design was consciously formulated and put into play by the aristocratic French pornographer is, at best, doubtful; but like other postmodernist interpreters Connolly eschews any concern with such historical niceties as authorial intention.
>W. Connolly.
Gaus I 26
Truth/Postmodernism/Ball: Various criticisms can be levelled against a postmodernist perspective on interpretation. One is that we do sometimes wish, and legitimately so, to know whether something Marx or Mill said was true. We will not be helped by being told that true/false is a specious ‘binary’.
>Truth values, >Bivalence, >Logic, >J. St. Mill, >K. Marx.
More perniciously, with its emphasis on diverse, divergent and conflicting ‘readings’ or interpretations - there are allegedly no facts, only interpretation ‘all the way down’ - postmodernism is constitutionally unable to distinguish truth from falsehood and propaganda from fact.
Cf. >False information, >Facts, >Truth, >Correctness.

1. Foucault, Michel 1980. Power/Knowledge, ed. Colin Gordon. New York: Pantheon.
2. Conolly, W.E. 1988. Political Theory and Modernity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ball, Terence. 2004. „History and the Interpretation of Texts“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. 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 [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004

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