What is the difference between intensional orientation and extensional orientation?

1 Answer
Sep 18, 2017


"Intensional" is a subjective view. "Extensional" is a more objective "fact-based' view.


Intensional orientiation would be thinking first about popular labels. For example, you may think that anything labeled "i-YouPick" is a good product without knowing anything about the actual device.

An extensional orientiation would look at the actual items or events, and then make your own decision or apply an appropriate label.

For example, an intensional orientation might assume that the "AntiFa" groups are about liberty and freedom. But an extensional orientation would recognize elements and characteristics in the groups that are identical with those that they purport to oppose.

The term intensional orientation (the “s” is intentional) refers to the tendency to view people, objects, and events in terms of how they’re talked about or labeled rather than in terms of how they actually exist.

Extensional orientation is the opposite: It’s a tendency to look first at the actual people, objects, and events and then at the labels—a tendency to be guided by what you see happening rather than by the way something or someone is talked about or labeled.

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