Wittgenstein and Sellars on Intentionality

Publication Details
Author(s): Brandt S
Publication year: 2011
Language: English


The aim of this thesis is to explore Ludwig Wittgenstein’s and Wilfrid Sellars’s view on intentionality. In the first chapter I discuss the account of intentionality and meaning the early Wittgenstein developed in his Tractatus logico-philosophicus. I present his idea that sentences are pictures of states of affairs with which they share a ‘logical form’ and to which they stand in an internal ‘pictorial relationship’. I argue that Wittgenstein thought of this relationship as established by acts of thought consisting in the operation of mental signs corresponding to the signs of public languages. In the second and third chapters I discuss the later Wittgenstein’s criticism of ideas at the heart of the Tractarian account of intentionality, as well as his explanations of the phenomena that motivated it. In the second chapter I examine his rejection of the idea that thinking consists in the operation of mental signs and his criticism of the idea that meaning and understanding are mental processes accompanying the use of language. In the third chapter I turn to Wittgenstein’s criticism of the idea that representations stand in an internal ‘pictorial relation’ to objects in the natural order that are their meaning. I illuminate his later views by discussing Sellars’s non-relational account of meaning, in particular his claim that specifications of meaning do not relate expressions to items that are their meaning, but rather specify their rule-governed role in language. I conclude with a discussion of the later Wittgenstein’s account of the relationship between intentional phenomena and the objects at which they are directed. In the final fourth chapter I provide a detailed discussion of Sellars’s account of thinking. I conclude with some criticisms of Sellars’s views.

How to cite
APA: Brandt, S. (2011). Wittgenstein and Sellars on Intentionality (Dissertation).

MLA: Brandt, Stefan. Wittgenstein and Sellars on Intentionality. Dissertation, 2011.

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