Intentionality in Reference and Action

Jacquette, Dale (2014). Intentionality in Reference and Action. Topoi - an international review of philosophy, 33(1), pp. 255-262. Springer Science + Business Media B.V 10.1007/s11245-013-9165-z

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This essay asks whether there is a relation between action-serving and meaning-serving intentions. The idea that the intentions involved in meaning and action are nominally designated alike as intentionalities does not guarantee any special logical or conceptual connections between the intentionality of referential thoughts and thought-expressive speech acts with the intentionality of doing. The latter category is typified by overt physical actions in order to communicate by engaging in speech acts, but also includes at the origin of all artistic and symbolic expression such cerebral and linguistic doings as thinking propositional thoughts. There are exactly four possibilities by which meaning and action intentionalities might be related to be systematically investigated. Meaning-serving and action-serving intentionalities, topologically speaking, might exclude one another, partially overlap with one another, or subsume one in the other or the other in the one. The theoretical separation of the two ostensible categories of intendings is criticized, as is their partial overlap, in light of the proposal that thinking and artistic and symbolic expression are activities that favor the inclusion of paradigm meaning-serving intentions as among a larger domain of action-serving intentions. The only remaining alternative is then developed, of including action-serving intentions reductively in meaning-serving intentions, and is defended as offering in an unexpected way the most cogent universal reductive ontology in which the intentionality of doing generally relates to the specific intentionality of referring in thought to the objects of predications, and of its artistic and symbolic expression.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy > Theoretical Philosophy

UniBE Contributor:

Jacquette, Dale


100 Philosophy




Springer Science + Business Media B.V




Caroline Bolz

Date Deposited:

24 Mar 2015 13:15

Last Modified:

25 Mar 2015 14:01

Publisher DOI:





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