Wittgenstein on Intentionality and Mental Representation

Tim Crane
Central European University
The concept of intentionality — what Brentano called ‘the mind’s direction on its obj ects’ — has been a preoccupation of many of the most significant twentieth century philosophers. The purpose of this essay is to examine the place of the concept of intentionality in Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, and to criticize one aspect of his treatment of intentionality. Although the word ‘intentionality’ is not (to my knowledge) used in Wittgenstein’s philosophical writings, the idea it expresses was central at all stages of his philosophical development. This should be obvious on a little reflection, not least because the philosophical notion of intentionality is closely related to the notion of meaning, and questions about meaning are, of course, central to both the T ractatus and Wittgenstein’s later work.‘ A full treatment of Wittgenstein’s views on meaning is not a task for a single essay. Instead, what I want to do here is to narrow the focus and discuss some specific claims in Wittgenstein’s middle and later work about the role of the notion of grammar in his attempts to solve (or dissolve) some quite specific problems of intentionality. In particular, I want to restrict myself to the discussion his later remarks about the relationship between expectation and fulfillment, and the..
Keywords Wittgenstein  Intentionality
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