Intentionality is for something to be about something. But this definition could also suffice for meaning: something can have meaning if it is about something. What is the major distinction between intentionality and meaning? I understand that different philosophers treat the concepts of intentionality and meaning differently, so I'm mainly looking for broad intuition here.

  • Who specifically are you reading? "Broad intuition" is not going to be very helpful here. – virmaior Dec 6 '15 at 0:19
  • Brentano and Dennett specifically, but my confusion seems to apply to all philosophers talking about intentionality haha – RECURSIVE FARTS Dec 6 '15 at 0:36
  • 2
    One possible distinction (and I think according to e.g. Kant and Husserl) is that intentionality is an act of a subject while meaning is a property of a linguistic expression, may it be a sentence, term or "concept". That is quite a difference. – Philip Klöcking Dec 6 '15 at 2:22

A first reference is SEP:

Concerning intentionality see http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/intentionality/ Accordingly

Intentionality is the power of minds to be about, to represent, or to stand for, things, properties and states of affairs.

Concerning meaning see http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/meaning/ Accordingly meaning is a property of words, sentences and - more general - symbols of a language:

The first sort of theory - a semantic theory - is a theory which assigns semantic contents to expressions of a language. [...] The second sort of theory - a foundational theory of meaning - is a theory which states the facts in virtue of which expressions have the semantic contents that they have.

  • So the main distinction here is the domain of discourse? – RECURSIVE FARTS Dec 6 '15 at 0:30
  • Yes. But I am sure that not everybody subscribes to this strict separation. Let's wait for further answers :-) – Jo Wehler Dec 6 '15 at 0:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.