Friday, June 4, 2010

Scotus on Intentionality

Intentionality is a Big Deal in contemporary analytic and continental philosophy, and this was also true of medieval. In the following passage Scotus picks out four different senses of the word intention, only one of which is the "directedness" we today associate with the term.

Duns Scotus, Reportatio II d. 13 q. un (ed. Wadding-Vives vol. 23 p.44):

"...tamen hoc nomen intentio aequivocum uno modo dicitur actus voluntatis; secundo, ratio formalis in re, sicut intentio rei, a qua accipitur genus, differt ab intentione, a qua accipitur differentia; terio modo dicitur conceptus; quarto, ratio tendendi in obiectum, sicut similitudo dicitur ratio tendendi in illud cuius est..."

Nevertheless this term 'intention' is equivocal. In one way it is called the act of the will. In the second, the formal ratio in a thing, just as an intention of the thing, from which the genus is taken, differs by intention, from which is taken the difference. In the third way it is called a concept. In the fourth, the means of tending into an object, as a likeness is called a means of tending into that of which it is a likeness.

1 comment:

Michael Sullivan said...

Well, "directedness" is the sense as used by phenomenology and so forth, but the first sense - the act of the will or what I "mean" to do - is the sense used by Anscombe in her book Intention and related analytic strains.

It seems to me that perhaps all four of Scotus' senses here could be found in our current word "meaning".