Four Aspects of Philology: The Interpretation of Meaning in Context

Meaning always depends to some extent on context, and philology attempts to include that context in interpretation. In this way philology is distinguished from certain schools of philosophy and linguistics, which treat meaning either in the abstract or not at all. Context is defined pragmatically; there is no way to decide in advance what kind of context will matter in any particular instance. Context begins with the situations of the people involved in the communication, and grows from there. Context can be historical, social, even biological. New insights often come with the addition of a new perspective grounded in a new understanding of context.

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