“fit” & “moral value/justification”

  • Once that interpretative attitude develops, institution of courtesy ceases to be mechanical & people try to impose a meaning on it – see it in best light – and restructure it in light of that meaning.
  • Interpretation of social practice is like creative interpretation – it’s constructive b/c interpretation of works & social practices is essentially concerned w/purpose, not cause, but purposes at play are those of the interpreter constructive interpretation is a matter of imposing purpose on an object or practice in order to make it the best example of the form or genre to which it’s taken to belong.
  • In making the practice the best it can be, criteria are “fit” & “moral value/justification”
  1. The process is made up of 3 analytical stages:
  1. Pre-interpretive – rules & standards which constitute the practice are identified (equivalent stage in literary interpretation is to identify the text”
  • some interpretation also required here b/c social rules don’t carry identifying labels
  1. Interpretive – interpreter settles on some general justification for the main elements of practice identified at pre-interpretive stage – it needn’t fit every aspect of the practice but must be enough for interpreter to see he’s interpreting it and not inventing a new one
  2. Post interpretive – interpreter adjusts his sense of what the practice “really” requires so as to better serve the justification he accepts at interpretive stage (e.g. interpreter of courtesy might find that consistent enforcement of best justification of that practice would require people to tip their hats to soldiers returning from war + nobles, or that it calls for new exception, such as making returning soldiers exempt from the practice)
  • Actual interpretation would be much less deliberate & structured – people’s interpretive judgments would be more a matter of “seeing” at once dimensions of their practice, a purpose or aim in that practice, and its post interpretive consequence.
  • Bix – a distraction jurisprudence could well do w/out!!