The problem of intentionality has been one of the most important problems of philosophy, so much so that many philosophers, such as Schopenhauer, Brentano, and Popper, have taken it as the fundamental problem of philosophy. Because of this very importance, one must proceed carefully in proceeding from one or another definition of it, for if it is inadequate, the philosophical system is weak from its foundations. Traditional philosophy tends to give concepts uses that are different from the common uses, so that its language lends itself to confusion and, consequently, fails to advance in knowledge. Intentionality has not come out of this well, which implies that it is necessary to approach the problem from another perspective.
For a speaker to carry out any speech act, three fundamental conditions must be met:
1) The conditions of input (required for the listener to understand) and output (required to speak intelligibly, i.e., for the speaker to make himself understood) are present.
2) The speaker intends the sentence he utters to produce in the hearer the belief that he holds himself accountable that what he says is true are given by the recognition of the intention to produce that belief, and he intends this recognition to be achieved by the recognition that the sentence is conventionally used to produce such beliefs.
3) The semantic rules of the dialect spoken by the speaker and the hearer are such that the sentence is correctly and sincerely uttered if and only if all the conditions required for its utterance are present.
From these three conditions are drawn the rules for uttering any speech act. This means that a proposition or utterance is the expression of a given intention by following rules without which such an expression would not be possible: a proposition counts as an expression of an intention only when all the conditions are met in the appropriate context. For example, the proposition «I accept», uttered by a contracting party, counts as the acceptance of marital commitments only when the rules of the speech act of acceptance in the context of a marriage are fulfilled.
I invite everyone to read Matthias’ post with the topic of the day.