Untangling the Knot of Intentionality: Between Directedness, Reference, and Content


The notion of “intentionality” is much invoked in various foundational theories of meaning, being very often equated with “meaning”, “content” and “reference”. In this paper, I propose and develop a basic distinction between two concepts and, more fundamentally, properties of intentionality: intentionality-T (the fact that a state is directed to some object) and intentionality-C (the fact that a state is contentful). Representationalism is then defined as the position according to which intentionality-T can be reduced to intentionality-C, in the form of representational (i.e. contentful) states. Nonrepresentationalism is rejecting this reduction, and argues that intentionality-T is more fundamental than intentionality-C. Non-representationalism allows for a new layered view of the relations between cognitive intentionality and linguistic intentionality; this view is presented at the end of the paper.

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