Intentionality is the mind’s capacity to direct itself on things. Mental states like thoughts, beliefs, desires, hopes exhibit intentionality in the sense that they are always directed on, or at, something: if you hope, believe or desire, you must hope, believe or desire something. Hope, belief, desire and any other mental state which is directed at something, are known as intentional states. Intentionality in this sense has only a peripheral connection to the ordinary ideas of intention and intending. An intention to do something is an intentional state, since one cannot intend without intending something; but intentions are only one of many kinds of intentional mental states. The terminology of intentionality derives from the scholastic philosophy of the Middle Ages, and was revived by Brentano in 1874. Brentano characterized intentionality in terms of the mind’s direction upon an object, and emphasized that the object need not exist. He also claimed that it is the intentionality of mental phenomena that distinguishes them from physical phenomena. These ideas of Brentano’s provide the background to twentieth-century discussions of intentionality, in both the phenomenological and analytic traditions. Among these discussions, we can distinguish two general projects. The first is to characterize the essential features of intentionality. For example, is intentionality a relation? If it is, what does it relate, if the object of an intentional state need not exist in order to be thought about? The second is to explain how intentionality can occur in the natural world. How can.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 20,903
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Fiona Macpherson (2003). Novel Colours and the Content of Experience. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 84 (1):43-66.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Tim Crane (2009). Intentionalism. In Ansgar Beckermann & Brian P. McLaughlin (eds.), Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press 474--493.
David L. Thompson (1986). Intentionality and Causality in John Searle. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 16 (March):83-97.
Anna Aloisia Moser (2008). Naturally Intentional. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 39:157-165.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

356 ( #5,382 of 1,907,654 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

75 ( #6,455 of 1,907,654 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.