Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Meaning and Intention: A Defence of Procedural Individualism

Abstract

This paper defends a weak intentionalism, or procedural individualism, according to which any meaning, or at least any meaning with a temporal existence, is either a meaning for a specific person or an abstraction based on such meanings. All historical meanings are intentional in the weak sense of being meanings for specific people. We can individuate such weak intentions, moreover, solely by reference to the individual for whom they exist. This weak intentionalism or procedural individualism differs from strong intentionalism in ways that facilitate effective responses to the criticisms of the latter raised by New Critics, psycho-analytic theorists, and others. In addition, it helps us to make sense of cases in which there seem to be peculiar difficulties in identifying who or what is the author of an utterance.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC Academic Senate's Open Access Policy. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View