HomeAugustinianvol. 19 no. 1 (2018)

Searle on the Logic of Intentionality

Napoleon M. Mabaquiao Jr.



Searle’s theory of intentionality has a logical and an ontological aspect. Its logical aspect seeks to account for the mind’s functionality given its intentionality; while its ontological aspect seeks to account for the nature of the mind’s existence given its intentionality. By “intentionality,” it is basically meant the mind’s inherent property to be related to or to direct itself to some objects or facts in the world. This essay focuses on Searle’s logical account of this property. Specifically, it aims to examine the plausibility of Searle’s logical theory of intentionality by looking into its framework and applications. At the core of this theory is Searle’s notion of conditions of satisfaction, which accounts for the success or failure of the mind’s intentional acts. Searle spelled out the nature of this notion with his theory of intentionality as the framework. And he applied this notion to the resolution of the two foremost logical puzzles of intentionality, namely the so-called no-reference and co-reference problems. In the main, this essay shows that the strength of Searle’s logical theory of intentionality lies in its coherence in accounting for the workings of language and mind in relation to intentionality, and its simplicity (in the sense of requiring no additional metaphysics) in dealing with the logical puzzles of intentionality.