the first and second intention

“A term of the first intention is one that signifies something according to that which the signified has in reality (independently of its being known) or in its own proper condition, that is to say, apart from the condition or status it has in the understanding and according as it is conceived, such as a white thing, or a man, as existing independently of cognition. A term of the second intention is one that signifies something according to that which the signified has owing to a concept of the mind and in the condition or state of the understanding, such as species, genus, and things of like kind that logicians treat. And these are said to be of first and second intention, because that which belongs to anything according to its own being is, as it were, primary in that thing and its own condition or state; but that which belongs to anything according as it is understood is as it were secondary and a second condition or state supervening upon the first, and for this reason it is called ‘of second intention,’ as of the second status.” (John Poinsot, Treatise on Signs, p. 59, footnote 2)

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