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The weave of meaning: holism and contextuality


Malpas, J, The weave of meaning: holism and contextuality, Language and Communication, 22, (4) pp. 403-419. ISSN 0271-5309 (2002) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/S0271-5309(02)00017-4


Context and meaning are notions inseparably tied together. Yet although appeal to context would seem inevitable in any discussion of meaning and understanding, the notion seems to be resistant to any attempt to render it in precise and non-question-begging terms. Context may be ubiquitous, but it is also opaque. This paper explores the notion of context in general, arguing that an understanding of context is essential for any attempt to elucidate the structure and possibility of meaning. Moreover, while the contextual character of meaning is seen to imply a form of holism about meaning, it also requires that any such holism be understood in a way that is realised only in relation to particular settings or 'locales'. In this respect, contextuality not only gives rise to holism, but also constrains it, thereby pre-empting certain objections that are sometimes advanced against holistic approaches to meaning. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Philosophy
Research Field:Philosophy of language
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in philosophy and religious studies
UTAS Author:Malpas, J (Professor Jeff Malpas)
ID Code:25576
Year Published:2002
Web of Science® Times Cited:9
Deposited By:Philosophy
Deposited On:2002-08-01
Last Modified:2011-11-18

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