Plainly Interpreting

There’s an argument over at Kendall’s place occasioned by an essay from Scott Carson concerning the [alleged] plain meaning of texts. I intervened once, but I think I’ll keep out hereafter; William Witt, who’s promoting the “plain meaning,” says that texts are inherently intelligible, that “inherent intelligibility is in the text” to be ignored or revealed. I’m on record as vociferously opposing the notion of subsistent meaning that he seems heavily invested in. If “intelligibility” is a property inherent in texts, I am curious to know (a) where it’s located, (b) who gets to determine which texts are intelligible and which aren’t, and (c) who determines which “revelations” of inherent intelligibility are sound and which are actually just “ignoring” the inherent meaning. I’ll leave it at that for now.

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