Realist Meaning

  • Mirela Oliva


The medieval Biblical hermeneutics universalizes the notion of meaning and begins a trend that reaches its peak in contemporary hermeneutics, crossing also into analytic philosophy. Accordingly, meaning conveys properties of the known object, its origin and transformation, its action upon other objects, and its place within a larger context. Meaning attaches to all things in the universe – not just language. Therefore, things have meaning, too. This paper first shows how hermeneutics extended the sphere of meaning from language to things. My short historical survey starts with medieval Biblical hermeneutics, continues with German Protestant hermeneutics, and finishes with contemporary hermeneutics and the influence of Neo-Kantianism. Then, I discuss the various significations of meaning that pertain to the object’s aspects and question how this polysemy can be fruitful. Finally, I draw from Nozick’s account of meaning that has many similarities with hermeneutics.


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How to Cite
Oliva, M. (2023). Realist Meaning. Critical Hermeneutics, 6(2), 211-234.