For the past three months, it has been my great pleasure and honor to be a visiting researcher at the Center for Subjectivity Research. During my time in Copenhagen, I have advanced work on my dissertation, Pointing the Way to Speech: The Sources of Linguistic Intentionality.
There is a puzzle concerning the intentionality of language. The statement “it’s a warm, clear day in Copenhagen” is in some sense directed towards the sunny state of affairs it conveys. Yet the graphic or acoustic string of linguistic symbols is by no means intrinsically intentional. It would not count as being directed towards its state of affairs if it weren’t for the social conventions that sustain its use and some underlying, intrinsic intentionality or intentionalities through which language users direct themselves to the correlated state of affairs. The puzzle, then, is to understand how the secondary intentionality of a linguistic utterance can be derived from the primary intentionality that underwrites it.