intentionality


intentionality
in·ten·tion·al·i·ty (ĭn-tĕn'shə-nălʹĭ-tē) n. pl. in·ten·tion·al·i·ties
1. The state of having or being formed by an intention.
2. Philosophy. The property of being about or directed toward a subject, as inherent in conscious states, beliefs, or creations of the mind, such as sentences or books.

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Property of being directed toward an object.

Intentionality is exhibited in various mental phenomena. Thus, if a person experiences an emotion toward an object, he has an intentional attitude toward it. Other examples of intentional attitudes toward an object are, looking for, believing in, and thinking about. Intentional attitudes also include propositional attitudes. One characteristic of intentionality is "inexistence": A person may be intentionally related to an object that does not exist. Thus, what a person looks for (and intentionally seeks) may not exist, and an event he believes to occur may not occur at all. Another characteristic is referential opacity: A sentence truly ascribing an intentional state to a person may become false when some alternative description of the object of that state is substituted for it. Suppose that his pen is the millionth pen produced this year, so that "his pen" and "the millionth pen produced this year" have the same reference. It may be true to say that he is in the intentional state of searching for his pen but false to say that he is in the intentional state of searching for the millionth pen produced this year; similarly, he may believe that this is his pen and yet not believe this is the millionth pen produced this year.

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▪ literary theory
      in modern literary theory, the study of authorial intention in a literary work and its corresponding relevance to textual interpretation. With the ascendancy of New Criticism after World War I, much of the debate on intentionality addressed whether information external to the text could help determine the writer's purpose and whether it was even possible or desirable to determine that purpose.

      Modernist critics, such as T.S. Eliot (Eliot, T.S.), T.E. Hulme (Hulme, T.E.), and John Crowe Ransom (Ransom, John Crowe), rejected the subjectivity of Romantic critics, whose criteria emphasized originality and individual experience. With the publication of their influential essay “The Intentional Fallacy” in The Sewanee Review in 1946, authors W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley questioned further the value of searching for authorial intention. Other critics such as E.D. Hirsch, Jr. (Hirsch, E.D., Jr.), stressed that knowledge of the author's intention is necessary for determining a work's success; without that knowledge, he argued, it is impossible to determine whether the work satisfies the original intention.

      in Phenomenology, the characteristic of consciousness whereby it is conscious of something—i.e., its directedness toward an object.

      The concept of intentionality enables the phenomenologist to deal with the immanent-transcendent problem—i.e., the relation between what is within consciousness and what extends beyond it—in a manner different from that employed by many philosophers who have claimed that an experienced, represented, and remembered object (e.g., a tree) is inside consciousness (immanent), whereas the real object itself is outside the mind (transcendent). These philosophers have made this distinction the ground of a doubt about the existence of things and of skepticism about the possibility of knowledge of things.

      Phenomenologists have noted that this distinction is a question of meaning and thus pertains to the reflective, or ontological, level; it is a distinction made, however, on the level of the everyday world, that of the natural attitude. Thus, in order to reach the level of meaning, phenomenologists—contrary to these other philosophers—“bracket” existence (i.e., exclude from consideration the question of existence or nonexistence as things) by the phenomenological reduction and deal exclusively with the indubitable—with consciousness and the immediately given evidence of consciousness. On this level, the immanent is what is given adequately (e.g., one sees the front side of the tree) and the transcendent is what is aimed at, or intended (the tree). Thus, the problem of how to move from the immanent to the transcendent is solved by an analysis of how an object comes to have meaning for consciousness and of how consciousness relates to the object. This procedure is called intentional analysis, or the analysis of the constitution of meaning.

      Every particular profile of an object refers to, though it does not present, the object as a whole (i.e., as it could be perceived in all of its profiles). Thus, the object as a whole (the intended, or meant, object) is what unifies all of the profiles as given in the many acts of perception. Each perception anticipates the other perceptions, and perception is thus a process of fulfillment. The whole of the factors not effectively or immediately given—i.e., the object in its other profiles—is called the internal horizon, and the background against which the object appears is called the external horizon. Thus, the constitution of the object is the unity of the acts of consciousness, the unity of all of the profiles with the internal horizon, and the external horizon.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Intentionality — In*ten tion*al i*ty, n. The quality or state of being intentional; purpose; design. Coleridge. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intentionality — index animus, design (intent) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • Intentionality — The term intentionality is often simplistically summarised as aboutness . According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is the distinguishing property of mental phenomena of being necessarily directed upon an object, whether real or imaginary .… …   Wikipedia

  • intentionality — The directedness or ‘aboutness’ of many, if not all, conscious states. The term was used by the scholastics, but revived in the 19th century by Brentano . Our beliefs, thoughts, wishes, dreams, and desires are about things. Equally the words we… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • intentionality — noun a) That property of mental states and events by which they are directed at or about or of objects and states of affairs in the world (Searle, 1983) [ …   Wiktionary

  • intentionality — intentional ► ADJECTIVE ▪ deliberate. DERIVATIVES intentionality noun intentionally adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • intentionality — noun see intentional …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • intentionality — in·ten·tion·al·i·ty …   English syllables

  • intentionality — noun expressive of intentions • Derivationally related forms: ↑intentional • Hypernyms: ↑deliberation, ↑deliberateness • Attrubites: ↑intended, ↑unintended …   Useful english dictionary

  • The Naturalization of Intentionality — Naturalization of Intentionality = Naturalization of Intentionality According to Franz Brentano, intentionality refers to the “aboutness of mental states that cannot be a physical relation between a mental state and what is about (its object)… …   Wikipedia


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