Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Lewis & Clark College

Nathan's Paradox of Intentionalism

Added on by jay odenbaugh.

Daniel Nathan argues that there is a paradox in Intentionalism. His argument can be summarized as follows: 

  1. Necessarily, if an artwork is produced for the public,then it is produced with a secondary intention that any primary intention relevant to the work’s meaning must be accessible in the work itself.

  2. Artworks are produced for the public.

  3. . ∴ They are produced with a secondary intention that any primary intention relevant to the work’s meaning must be accessible in the work itself. 

First, is this paradoxical? Second, is this a problem for Intentionalism? 

W. K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley, Anti-Intentionalists

W. K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley, Anti-Intentionalists