How Do We Know Things with Signs? A Model of Semiotic Intentionality

Manuel Gustavo Isaac
University of Barcelona
Intentionality may be dealt with in two different ways: either ontologically, as an ordinary relation to some extraordinary objects, or epistemologically, as an extraordinary relation to some ordinary objects. This paper endorses the epistemological view in order to provide a model of semiotic intentionality defined as the meaning-and-cognizing process that constitutes to power of the mind to be about something on the basis of a semiotic system. After a short introduction that presents the components of semiotic intentionality (viz. sign, act, content, referent) along with their division into an intending and a fulfilling side (Sect. 1), the first main part of the paper analyzes semiotic intentionality at its primary level (a.k.a. 'concrete intentionality') as a real and subjective relation between meaning-intending and meaning-fulfilling acts grounded in the manipulation of some semiotic system (Sect. 2). Then, building on such concrete intentionality, the second main part of the paper analyzes semiotic intentionality at its secondary level (a.k.a. 'abstract intentionality') as an ideal and objective relation between intentional and fulfillment contents, which in turn: (i) proceed from an abstraction performed on the intending and fulfilling acts, respectively, and (ii) retroactively categorize the intending and fulfilling acts, respectively (Sect. 3). Finally, from this combination of an act-based conception of content with a presentationalist account of intentionality, the conclusion of this paper produces the intended model of semiotic intentionality in such a way that knowledge and truth are then respectively defined in it as the subjective correspondence between the two acts of concrete intentionality and as the objective correspondence between the two contents of abstract intentionality (Sect. 4).
Keywords Phenomenology  Intentionality  Semiotic epistemology  Presentationalism
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