Toward Meaning

  • R. J. Nelson
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 155)


The subject of meaning is notoriously foggy and undeveloped; according to some thinkers, not a subject at all. Yet, no meaning, no language; and failure to understand meaning is failure to understand the human being himself. I do not have very much of an orderly nature to say about meaning or intension, for I am convinced that any thing remotely resembling a theory of meaning, given our present limited insights in linguistics and psychology, is risky and presumptuous. If ever there was a place from which to launch the most irresponsible metaphysics, this is it. So I am somewhat hesitant about putting forth the position that the path to it is by way of intentionality. Yet we can make sense of mental attitudes and purpose to some extent in terms of expectations and so back to computational systems. What I hope to do is indicate (not even sketch) a kind of theory based on acceptance, in a manner parallel to the treatment of truth in the previous chapter.


Actual World Natural Kind Stimulus Pattern Perceptual Object Intentional Object 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Truman P. Handy Professor of PhilosophyCase Western Reserve UniversityUSA

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