I turn now to the job of showing how authorial intentions might determine non-fiction's content. This phase of the inquiry begins in the abstract. I suggest five principles as conceptual grounds for describing the ways in which particular kinds of authorial psychological states constrain the condition, hence the meaning, of the movie's representational states. These grounds make explicit what it is that a moderate intentionalist might prudently claim about the nature and extent of authorial control over one aspect of the documentary's significance. Then I propose two general categories of non-fictional content, reflecting the content-determining functions of two conceivable types of plans. Finally, the bulk of the present discussion is devoted to a more concrete examination of the role of planning and practical reasoning in an actual cinematic work's creation. Here I apply the central tenets of the moderate intentionalism that I recommend to an analysis of a canonical documentary, Nanook of the North ( Robert Flaherty, 1922).
If we are to explain, as I think we must, the origins of a cinematic constative's meaning by saying that it exhibits dependency upon authorial rationality, then we are obliged to say how and why a film scholar may intelligently maintain that something as potentially obscure, muddled, and inaccessible as an idea "in somebody's head," so to speak, can exert a decisive influence over what the movie signifies to its audience. My response to this problem is to supply a budget of core methodological and explanatory principles in support of the hypothesis that the maker's intentions can be a source of meaning, even when authorial control is loose, only one factor among many, far from absolute, or itself subject to a variety of intractable external as well as internal constraints and forces.