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Single Idea 20400

[catalogued under 21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 1. Artistic Intentions]

Full Idea

Wimsatt and Beardsley claimed that either the intention succeeded, so one does not need to look outside the work for its meaning, or the intention failed, so external evidence does not help.

Gist of Idea

Intentions either succeed or fail, so external evidence for them is always irrelevant


report of W Wimsatt/W Beardsley (The Intentional Fallacy [1946]) by Stephen Davies - The Philosophy of Art (2nd ed) 5.3

A Reaction

Actually, the external evidence may tell you much more clearly and accurately what the intention was than the work itself does. The best example may be the title of the work, which is presumably outside the work.

Book Reference

Davies,Stephen: 'The Philosophy of Art (2nd ed)' [Wiley Blackwell 2016], p.114