Intentionality is the ability to be about something.

Derived Intentionality

Intentionality is derived. The same reason why computer-generated art or AI-assisted writing would not be considered ‘novel’ or ‘intelligent’. The intentionality of the user is what gets injected. These tool-assisted generation of artifacts are no more different than fancier pens and paint brushes.

Chinese room argument example tries to show that even programming something with intentionality (a person) with a format program, that formal program carries no additional intentionality

How does intention change with time? Are my intentions in the past just as valid as my current intentions?

  • Smart contracts and blockchains try to permanently embed and codify intentionality
  • But, intentionality doesn’t mean you can’t change though. People aren’t permanent, thoughts aren’t permanent. Why should we try to make them so? (see: meditation on change of self)


Intentionality is based off of repeated behaviour rather than internal mechanisms. This accepts Brentano’s definition of the mental, but proposed materialist way to view intentionality (and intelligence)

  1. Behaviour should be understood not in isolation but in context and as part of a consistent pattern of behaviour (holism)
  2. A consistent pattern of behaviour in context can be construed as rational (interpretation)

Rabbit example

We infer that a rabbit can tell a fox from another rabbit, always wanting to get away from the one but not the other

Thus, on a given occasion, we attribute to the rabbit intentional states (beliefs and desires) about a particular fox, on the basis not only of its current behaviour but also of the pattern in its behaviour over time.