Like most words the French aperçu has more than one meaning. It can mean a glance, a glimpse, an insight or a hint, a sketch or outline, a summary and even a preview. I would like to use the word here and in future notes in the sense of a short statement which may contain some insight, some wit, some twist or thought, perhaps even as an introduction to a more eloquent statement to be published some time in the future.

So let us begin. Each aperçu will be numbered and labeled. I hope that will help.

Aperçu #1 : Interpreting another’s meaning

As a philosopher you must believe that what another philosopher said is what you understand him to have meant! There is no other way of doing philosophy, for if you deny this premise you could not give an exposition of another’s viewpoint, only your own. You could then end in an infinite regress, asking again and again whether what philosopher A  said is what he had meant to say.

Now you could be incorrect in your understanding of philosopher A, of what philosopher A meant. But how could you discover this error in your judgment? How could you find out?