Review: Franz Brentano on the Ontology of Mind [Book Review]

Franz Brentano’s ‘philosophy of mind’ still means, as far as most philosophers are concerned, no more than a peculiarly influential account of intentionality. In fact, in his Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint, Brentano has provided an account of mental phenomena which ranks with any to be found in the literature of philosophy. It differs as much from the conceptcentered Kantian approaches to ‘reason’ or ‘understanding’ as from more recent approaches, centered on the language used to report or to express ’propositional attitudes’, in being an ontology of mind, concerned with the description of the entities which are involved in mental experience and of the relations between them. With the posthumous publication of a series of lectures given in Vienna in 1890-1911 we now possess a clear account of the ontology, and of the methods, underlying Brentano’s numerous and subtle descriptions of mental phenomena, at least at one highly fruitful stage in his career. What follows is a detailed exposition of this work, together with a brief critical coda.
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