The data of cultural psychology indicate a process of intentionality—of signifying or “pointing to” things from a first-person perspective—unaccounted for by the information-processing model. This “pointing to” process cannot be reduced to a dyadic relation between signifier and signified, because “pointing to” requires a third term—a goal or purpose to which the signifier-signified relation serves as a means. This third term defined here as the intendant—entails a future state or outcome in the world, and a subject who anticipates that outcome. Signifier points to signified in the service of the intendant, and this process, being intrinsic to all thoughts, makes intentionality intrinsic to all thoughts as well. Intentionality is a matter of “bringing to bear” the intendant on experience, of assimilating experience to one’s own point of view. This point of view is grounded in the shared symbol system of a given culture, but this symbol system itself is dependent on and continually shaped by the process of reference, as experienced by a community of individuals. Intentionality thus forms the basis of the “mutual constitution” of mind and culture.
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