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The weave of meaning: holism and contextuality

Malpas, J 2002 , 'The weave of meaning: holism and contextuality' , Language and Communication, vol. 22, no. 4 , pp. 403-419 , doi:

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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.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Malpas, J
Keywords: Context; Meaning; Holism; Understanding; Horizonality; Locality
Journal or Publication Title: Language and Communication
ISSN: 0271-5309
DOI / ID Number:
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