David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell. 85--102 (2007)
The aim of this chapter is to defend the claim that “the intentional is normative” against a number of objections, including those that Georges Rey has presented in his contribution to this volume. First, I give a quick sketch of the principal argument that I have used to support this claim, and briefly comment on Rey’s criticisms of this argument. Next, I try to answer the main objections that have been raised against this claim. First, it may seem that the claim that “the intentional is normative” is just hopelessly Panglossian: doesn’t this claim just wilfully ignore all the mountains of evidence that we have for the sheer ubiquity and pervasiveness of human irrationality? Secondly, the claim that intentional mental states are essentially normative seems to be intended as a purely philosophical, non-empirical account of the nature of these mental states: but why should we think that purely philosophical reflection can tell us anything interesting about the nature of the mind -- shouldn’t we look to empirical psychology to enlighten us about such matters? I argue that neither of these objections succeeds in undermining my version of the claim that "the intentional is normative".
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