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Intentionality


Alessandro Salice


Pages 274 - 276



The term ‘intentionality’ is the nominalisation of the predicate ‘being-intentional.’ This predicate applies either to mental states (and hence identifies all those states which are directed towards – or are about – an object or state of affairs) or to a kind of relations, namely, intentional relations. Intentional relations can exist by virtue of the realisation of intentional states, but they do not have to. For instance, given that perception is an intentional state, if I perceive a particular object, an intentional relation exists between myself and the object (whatever ontological status this object bears, s. below). At the same time, however, there are intentional relations which do not involve mental states as their relata: traffic signals are connected with items or states of affairs they symbolize (e.g., red means ‘stop’, a warning signal means a possible danger) by means of an intentional relation. Within the literature it is a matter of debate whether this last form of intentionality is genuine or derived from mental states (Searle 1983 supports the second view, Dennett 1987 the first).




1Philosophy Department, University College Cork



1 Brentano, F. (11874) 2008, Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkte. Von der Klassifikation der psychischen Phänomene, Sämtliche veröffentlichte Schriften, Band I, Binder, Th.; Chrudzimski, A. (eds.), Heusenstamm/Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag. Eng. transl. by A.C. Rancurello, D.B. Terrell, and L. McAlister, 1973 (2 nd ed., intr. by P. Simons, 1995), Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint, London: Routledge.

2 Dennett, D., (1987), The Intentional Stance, Cambridge: The MIT Press.

3 Husserl, E.[11901, 21913/1921] 1984, Logische Untersuchungen. Zweiter Band. Untersuchungen zur Phänomenologie und Theorie der Erkenntnis. In 2 Bänden. Text der 1. und der 2. Auflage ergänzt durch Annotationen und Beiblätter aus dem Handexemplar, Panzer, U. (ed.), The Hague: Nijhoff (Husserliana XIX/1, 2). Eng. transl. by J.N. Findlay, (ed. and intr. by D. Moran), Logical Investigations, 2 vol, London: Routledge.

4 Ludwig, K., (1992), “On impossible Doings”, Philosophical Studies 65: 257-281.

5 Meinong, A., (1977 [11902, 21910]), “Über Annahmen” Zweite umgearbeitete Auflage, in: Meinong, A., Gesamtausgabe. 7 Bände und ein Ergänzungsband. Band IV. Über Annahmen, R. Haller, ed., Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 1-389, 517-535.

6 Searle, J. R., (1983), Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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