Laurent Stern here provides a concise account of the difficulties that arise within the interpretive process and in the context of interpretive conflict. Speakers and agents are expected by others to be occasionally insincere. Attempting to be tolerant of alternative interpretations, and dealing with the insincerity of others, often motivates interpreters themselves to become insincere. Accordingly, moral issues emerge for both speakers and interpreters. Interpretive Reasoning discusses such issues in the literature on interpretation.
Stern offers a carefully argued account of the very idea of interpretation. What are the constraints on interpretations? What are our grounds for demanding that others agree with our interpretations? How do we support our interpretations? What are the types of interpretations we encounter? How are problems of first-person authority and self-knowledge connected with interpreting?
While the author argues for interpretations supported by principles rather than by the consensus of interpreters, he also shows that even well-supported interpretations may be mistaken, and that some interpretive conflicts are interminable. Although this is a book in philosophy, scholars and students in the humanities, the social sciences, and disciplines concerned with interpretive reasoning can read it profitably.