Friday, October 07, 2005

Interpretation of Historical Ruling Documents

Here is a good debating issue. John Dewey in his “Art as Experience” states, in his last chapter titled “Art and Civilization”:
“The Magna Carta is held up as the great political stabilizer of Anglo-Saxon civilization. Even so, it has operated in the meaning given it in imagination rather than by its literal contents.”
Now, let’s exchange “Magna Carta” for the American Constitution or, any other official historical document which may rule an institution—a people. Central to the debate of religious beliefs and, currently, here in the United States, Supreme Court nominees is where the official documents (Bible or Constitution) should be interpretation within “traditionalist” absolute perspective of meaning (literal contents) or if interpretation should be evolving to match those of the living society at the time. That is, the document moves in time with society. Which do you think is correct? What are the problems with each view? Can we really know what our founding fathers really, absolutely, wanted literally in concerns to issues today that did not exist back then? How should interpretation unfold?

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