Language, and the Question of the Source of IntentionalityMany mental states seem to be characterized by "aboutness", by "directedness" at something outside of themselves, and at something that need not exist. But isn't language also characterized by intentionality? Isn't an utterance - or, at least, any utterance that makes an assertion - "about" some thing, or some state of affairs, that, generally speaking, lies outside of the utterance, and that may fail to exist? For an assertion may, in general, fail to be true, and if an utterance is false, then it "points", so to speak, towards a state of affairs that fails to exist. But are utterances intentional in the way that at least some mental states are? Can one relate the intentionality of language to the intensionality of contexts within sentences? In support of an affirmative answer to this question, one might cite sentences that talk about the meaningsof sentences. Consider, for example, the sentence: "Bill Clinton ist ein Vater" (in German) means that Bill Clintonis a father.
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Philosophy of language, Intentionality, Source of Intentionality