Intension and Decision: A Philosophical Study

Intension and Decision: A Philosophical Study

Intension and Decision: A Philosophical Study

Intension and Decision: A Philosophical Study

Excerpt

Logical syntax and semantics constitute a central part of modern philosophical theory. Syntax is concerned exclusively with the signs or expressions of a language and their interconnections. In semantics, on the other hand, or at least in one branch of it, we are interested not only in signs and their interconnections but also in the relations between signs and the objects which they designate or denote or stand for in one way or another. Such a semantics is called a denotational (or designational or extensional) semantics. A second branch of modern semantical theory is concerned not only with denotation but with the meaning or intension of expressions as well. A theory of meanings is sometimes called an intensional semantics. An intension of an expression is distinguished from its designatum or denotation or extension much as the connotation [connotatum] of a term is distinguished from its designatum in traditional logic. Frege's distinction between Bedeutung and Sinn is somewhat similar. As an example, the term 'man' may be said to denote severally individual men and to designate (or to have as its extension) the class of all men, whereas the connotatum of 'man' is neither an individual man nor the class of all men, but rather a new kind of entity altogether, a meaning or anintension.

We know a good deal about denotational semantics, thanks to the work of Carnap, KotarbÀ-Ànski, Tarski, and others. Ina sense, denotational semantics may now be regarded as a completed body of theory. The study of intensions, however, is in its infancy . . .

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