It is what you think: Intentional potency and anti-individualism

Philosophical Psychology 10 (2):165-78 (1997)
Abstract
In this paper I argue against the worried view that intentional properties might be epiphenomenal. In naturalizing intentionality we ought to reject both the idea that causal powers of intentional states must supervene on local microstructures, and the idea that local supervenience justifies worries about intentional epiphenomenality since our states could counterfactually lack their intentional properties and yet have the same effects. I contend that what's wrong with even the good guys (e.g. Dennett, Dretske, Allen) is that they implicitly grant that causal powers supervene locally. Finally, I argue that once we see the truth of an anti-individualism which sees cognition as a fundamentally embedded activity, it becomes clear both that granting local supervenience is granting too much, and that intentional properties do work that mere neurological properties could never do. I also suggest how a transcendental argument for intentional potency might go
Keywords Cognition  Epiphenomenalism  Individualism  Intentionality  Metaphysics  Science
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