: "Not to be confused with the homophone intention; or the related concept of intentionality. For the song "Intension" by Tool, see "10,000 Days"."

Intension refers to the set of all "possible" things a word or phrase "could" describe. It stands in contradistinction to extension (or "denotation"), which refers to the set of all "actual" things the word describes. For example, the intension of a car is the all-inclusive concept of a car, including, for example, mile-long cars made of chocolate that may not actually exist. But the extension of 'car' is all actual instances of cars (past, present, and future), which will amount to millions or billions of cars, but probably does not include any mile-long cars made of chocolate.

In linguistics, logic, philosophy, and other fields, an intension is any property or quality connoted by a word, phrase or other symbol. In the case of a word, it is often implied by its definition. The term may also refer to the complete set of meanings or properties that are implied by a concept, although the term "comprehension" is technically more correct for this.

The meaning of a word can be thought of as the bond between "the idea or thing the word refers to" and "the word itself". Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure contrasts three concepts:
*the "signified" — the concept or idea that a sign evokes.
*the "signifier" — the "sound image" or string of letters on a page that one recognizes as a sign.
*the "referent" — the actual thing or set of things a sign refers to. See "Dyadic signs" and "Reference (semantics)".

Intension is analogous to the signified, extension to the referent. The intension thus links the signifier to the sign's extension. Without intension of some sort, words can have no meaning.

In philosophical arguments about dualism versus monism, it is noted that thoughts have intensionality and physical objects do not (S.E. Palmer, 1999)

"Intension" and "intensionality" (the state of having intension) should not be confused with "intention" and "intentionality", which are pronounced the same and occasionally arise in the same philosophical context. Where this happens, the letter 's' or 't' is sometimes italicized to emphasize the distinction.

ee also

* Comprehension
* Description Logic
* Intensional definition
* Intensional statement
* Intensional logic


* Ferdinand De Saussure: "Course in General Linguistics". Open Court Classics, July 1986. ISBN 0-812-69023-0
**S. E. Palmer, Vision Science: From Photons to Phenomenology, 1999. MIT Press, ISBN 78-0262161831

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Intension — et extension  Pour l’article homophone, voir Intention. L intension (ou compréhension chez les auteurs les plus anciens) et l extension sont des concepts logiques qui ont été utilisés par la philosophie ancienne et médiévale, ainsi, qu… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • intension — [ ɛ̃tɑ̃sjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1932; mot angl. ♦ Anglic. Log. Ensemble des caractères qui permettent de définir un concept (opposé à extension).⇒ compréhension. Définition par intension. ⊗ HOM. Intention. ⇒INTENSION, subst. fém. A. Vx. Force, ardeur. L… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Intension — In*ten sion, n. [L. intensio: cf. F. intension. See {Intend}, and cf. {Intention}.] [1913 Webster] 1. A straining, stretching, or bending; the state of being strained; as, the intension of a musical string. [1913 Webster] 2. Increase of power or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intensión — En fonética, ‘primer tiempo en la articulación de un sonido, en el que los órganos adquieren la posición característica para pronunciarlo’: «Una consonante implosiva es la que carece del tercer tiempo (distensión), y una consonante explosiva, la… …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • Intension — (v. lat.), Anspannung der innern Kraft, welche, sofern man sie mit einer anderen vergleicht, zur Intensiven Größe wird, im Gegensatz von extensiver (räumlich ausgedehnter) Größe. Intensives Gefühl, ein lebhaft erregtes Gefühl; Intensive… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Intension — (lat.), »Anspannung«, Verstärkung der innern Kraft, also die erhöhte innere Wirksamkeit im Gegensatz zur Extension oder Ausdehnung, die zu ihr oft in umgekehrtem Verhältnis steht …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Intension — Intension, bestimmte Meinung, Absicht …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Intension — Intension,die:⇨Anstrengung(1) …   Das Wörterbuch der Synonyme

  • intension — c.1600, from L. intensionem (nom. intensio) a stretching, straining, effort, noun of action from pp. stem of intendere (see INTEND (Cf. intend)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • intensión — (Del lat. intensĭo, ōnis). f. intensidad …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • intension — [in ten′shən] n. [L intensio < intensus, pp. of intendere: see INTEND] 1. intentness; determination 2. intensification 3. the quality of being intense; intensity or degree of intensity 4. Logic the properties possessed by all the objects in a… …   English World dictionary

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