chapter  56
25 Pages

I. A. Richards on the Art of Interpretation 1939

WithR. S. Crane

The spirit of the procedure I. A. Richards recommends is well exemplified in his own 'interpretation', of a sentence from John Stuart Mill's Inaugural Address at St Andrews. It is a revealing fact that the terms and metaphors in Richards' sense of the word that recur most frequently in the key positions of his analysis are those designated by such expressions as 'action', 'motion', 'behaviour', 'event'. The basis of that metaphor, it will be recalled, is a situation involving two distinct elements, one of which, the dog moving toward dining-room is biological strictly, and other Pavlov conditioning the dog so that it will perform this action whenever the dinner-bell rings biological only in an indirect and unimportant sense. The causes of this curious dialectical asceticism will perhaps become clear to the analogy in light of which Richard's system has been constructed.