Decomposing intentionality: Perspectives on intentionality drawn from language research with two species of chimpanzees [Book Review]

Biology and Philosophy 8 (1):1-32 (1993)
  In philosophy the term intentionality refers to the feature possessed by mental states of beingabout things others than themselves. A serious question has been how to explain the intentionality of mental states. This paper starts with linguistic representations, and explores how an organism might use linguistic symbols to represent other things. Two research projects of Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, one explicity teaching twopan troglodytes to use lexigrams intentionally, and the other exploring the ability of several members ofpan paniscus to learn lexigram use and comprehension of English speech spontaneously when raised in an appropriate environment, are examined to explore the acquisition process. Although it is controversial whether intentionality of mental states or linguistic symbols is primary, it is argued that the intentionality of linguistic symbols is primary and that studying how organisms learn to use linguistic symbols provides an avenue to understanding how intentionality is acquired by cognitive systems
Keywords Intentionality  Language  Linguistics  Mental States  Symbol
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DOI 10.1007/BF00868503
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William P. Bechtel (1993). The Case for Connectionism. Philosophical Studies 71 (2):119-54.

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