chapter  1
30 Pages

The Semantics of Terms. Intentional Content

ByJohn N. Martin

This chapter describes how the account is built up out of two parts: standard distinctions from traditional logic plus a reworked concept of intentional content based on the medieval notion of objective being. The semantics of mental language is explained by the dual role of ideas, both as emanant causes of things in the world and as the objective being understood by the soul. Arnauld Antoine's alternative, which underlies the semantics of the Logic, employs a version of objective being that cleaves to an ontology of spirit and matter. Ontologically, the entities postulated are minimal and consistent with Cartesian substance-mode dualism. The doctrine of sensation and abstraction is directly relevant to medieval semantics because the process is supposed to explain why concepts are “significative.” The standard explanation of signification, however, which held that bodily modes travels to the soul, was undermined by dualism.