Is there, or should there be, any place in contemporary philosophy of mind for the concept of an intentional object? Many philosophers would make short work of this question. In a discussion of what intentionalobjects are supposed to be, John Searle.
The ontology of (merely) intentionalobjects is a can of worms. If we can avoid ontological commitment to such entities, we should. In this paper, I offer a strategy for accomplishing that. This is to reject the traditional act-object account of intentionality in favor of an adverbial account. According to adverbialism about intentionality, having a dragon thought is not a matter of bearing the thinking-about relation to dragons, but of engaging in the activity of thinking dragon-wise.
Intentionality is customarily characterised as the mind’s direction upon its objects. This characterisation allows for a number of different conceptions of intentionality, depending on what we believe about the nature of the objects or the nature of the direction. Different conceptions of intentionality may result in classifying sensory experience as intentional and nonintentional in different ways. In the first part of this paper, I present a certain view or variety of intentionality which is based on the idea (...) that the intentional object of a sensory experience must be Independent; that is, an intentional object must be such that its existence doesn’t depend on being experienced (except in some very special cases). This means, for example, that sense-data understood as mind-dependent objects are not intentionalobjects, because their existence depends on the occurrence of an experience. In the second part of the paper, I will sketch a view of how sensory experiences can acquire an Independent object. (shrink)
I propose a certain classification of entities which are introduced in various theories of intentionality under the label ‘intentionalobjects’. Franz Brentano’s immanent objects, Alexius Meinong’s entities ‘beyond being and non-being’, or Roman Ingarden’s purely intentionalobjects can serve as examples of suchentities. What they all have in common is that they have been introduced in order to extensionalise the so called ‘intentional contexts’ (‘intentional’ with ‘t’). But not all entities which function this (...) way deserve the name of intentionalobjects. In particular, neither Frege’s senses nor mental contents of the early Husserl are tobe classified as intentionalobjects in my sense. Roughly speaking, to be properly called ‘an intentional object’ a postulated entity must be supposed to function as a quasi-target of the subject’s intention. In other words: intentionalobjects are supposed to stand ‘before the subject’s mind’, so that they, in a sense, ‘replace’ the common sense objects of reference. It turns out that the intentionalobjects that were introduced in the history of philosophy make up groups which,from the ontological point of view, are very heterogeneous. Nevertheless it is possible to formulate certain systematic criteria of classifying them. (shrink)
In this paper I propose a certain classification of entities which are introduced in various theories of intentionality under the label ‘intentionalobjects’. Franz Brentano’s immanent objects, Alexius Meinong’s entities ‘beyond being and non-being’, or Roman Ingarden’s purely intentionalobjects can serve as examples of such entities. What they all have in common is that they have been introduced in order to extensionalise the so called ‘intentional contexts’ (‘intentional’ with ‘t’). But not all (...) entities which function this way deserve the name of intentionalobjects. In particular, neither Frege’s senses nor mental contents of the early Husserl are to be classified as intentionalobjects in my sense. Roughly speaking, to be properly called ‘an intentional object’ a postulated entity must be supposed to function as a quasi-target of the subject’s intention. In other words: intentionalobjects are supposed to stand ‘before the subject’s mind’, so that they, in a sense, ‘replace’ the common sense objects of reference. It turns out that the intentionalobjects that were introduced in the history of philosophy make up groups which, from the ontological point of view, are very heterogeneous. Nevertheless it is possible to formulate certain systematic criteria of classifying them. (shrink)
The article is a comparative critical discussion of the views of Brentano and Husserl on intentionalobjects and on perception. Brentano's views on intentionalobjects are first discussed, with special attention to the problems connected with the status of the intentionalobjects. It is then argued that Husserl overcomes these problems by help of his notion of noema. Similarly, in the case of perception, Brentano's notion of physical phenomena is argued to be less satisfactory (...) than Husserl's notion of hyle, whose role in Husserl's theory of perception is briefly sketched. (shrink)
The origins of object theory in the philosophical psychology and semantics of Alexius Meinong and the Graz school can be traced both to the insight and failure of Franz Brentano's immanent objectivity or intentional in-existence thesis. The immanence thesis is documented, together with its critical reception in Alois Höfler's Logik, Twardowski's Zur Lehre vom Inhalt und Gegenstand der Vorstellungen, and Meinong's mature Gegenstandstheorie, in which immanent thought content and transcendent intentional object are distinguished, and Brentano's thesis of immanent (...) intentionality as the mark of the mental is reinterpreted to imply that only content is the immanently intentional component of presentations. Brentano's thought from the early immanence thesis through the so-called Immanenzkrise and his later reism is explored against the background of his students' reactions to the original 1874 intentionality thesis and its idealist implications, in the emergence of Meinong's object theory and Edmund Husserl's transcendental phenomenology. Finally, Brentano's reism in the later ontology is critically examined, as his solution to ontic problems of immanent intentionality, limiting intentionalobjects to transcendent concrete particulars. (shrink)
Taking our lead from Solomon’s emphasis on the importance of the intentional object of emotion, we review the history of repeated attempts to make this object disappear. We adduce evidence suggesting that in the case of James and Schachter, the intentional object got lost unintentionally. By contrast, modern constructivists (in particular Barrett) seem quite determined to deny the centrality of the intentional object in accounting for the occurrence of emotions. Griffiths, however, downplays the role objects have (...) in emotion noting that these do not qualify as intentional. We argue that these disappearing acts, deliberate or not, generate fruitless debate and add little to the advancement of our understanding of emotion as an adaptive mechanism to cope with events that are relevant to an organism’s life. (shrink)
The complement of intensional transitive verbs, like any nonreferential complement, can be replaced by a ‘special quantifier’ or ‘special pronoun’ such as 'something', 'the same thing', or 'what'. In this paper, I will defend the ‘Nominalization Theory’ of special quantifiers against a range of apparent counterexamples involving intensional transitive verbs.
Ontology is doubtless the most important part of Roman Ingarden’s (1893-1970) philosophy. Contrary to Husserl, Ingarden always believed that any serious philosophical investigation must involve an ontological basis and he tried to formulate a solid ontological framework for his philosophy. There are several reasons why this ontology deserves our attention. For those who are interested in Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology, Ingarden’s ontology could be treated as an ingenious attempt to analyse the conceptual structure and hidden ontological assumptions of Husserl’s transcendental idealism. (...) For those who want to understand the immanent dialectics of the post-Brentanian development of the ontology of intentionality, Ingarden’s conception of the purely intentional object could be a very valuable tool. But Ingarden’s ontology has also independent value, and hence it is also interesting for those who pursue ontology for its own sake. In this paper, I will investigate the basic scheme of Ingarden’s ontology, including pure qualities, individual real objects, purely intentionalobjects and ideas. This schema will prove to be in many aspects generated by his phenomenological, i.e. descriptive and anti-reductionist, ideology. (shrink)
A theory of intentionality is outlined, in which the desideratum that the intentional be the same as the real object is argued for in terms of an anti-realist ontology. According to such an ontology, an ordinary object is in itself an object of discourse taken as intentional when posited phenomenologically and as possible when posited naturalistically, i.e. as not existing in some possible worlds but as existing in others. If the actual world is included among the latter, the (...) object deserves to be called "rear". Qua possible object, it answers to a principle of individuation which also works as a criterion of discrimination. According to such a principle, any possible object has a counterfactual individualising property which takes substance plus origin in a given spacetime as the object's essential properties, where it exists. It is, moreover, an object of discourse insofar as it generically depends, for its own being, on a singular term being publicly used to refer to it. (shrink)
Ingarden’s official ontology of states of affairs is by no means reductionist. According to him there are states of affairs, but they are ontologically dependent onother entities. There are certain classical arguments for the introduction of states of affairs as extra entities over and above the nominal objects, that can be labelled “the problem of composition,” “the problem of relation” and “the problem of negation.” To the first two Ingarden proposes rather traditional solutions, while his treatment of negation proves (...) to be original and interesting. Ingarden doesn’t deny the existence of negative states of affairs altogether, but he (i) accepts only a restricted group of them and (ii) ascribes to them an extremely weak mode of being. Negative states of affairs are construed as supervenient entities, and their supervenience-basis involves two factors: on the one hand the appropriate positive states of affairs, and on the other hand certain mental acts of conscious subjects. They enjoy thus a curious “half-subjective” mode of being. (shrink)
David Rosenthal and Josh Weisberg have recently provided a counter argument to Ned Block’s argument that a Higher Order Thought (HOT) theory of consciousness cannot accommodate the existence of hallucinatory conscious states (i.e. a conscious episode consisting of a HOT without the presence of a relevant lower order thought). Their counter argument invokes the idea of mental appearances: a non-existent intentional object which is to aid in an account of subjective conscious awareness. I argue that if mental appearances are (...) to do the work they are supposed to, we cannot draw a mental appearance/reality distinction. I provide an alternative story that a HOT theorist can invoke to account for cases of conscious misrepresentation. Such a story will require denying the existence of HCS while still accounting for conscious misrepresentation. This is a cost I believe the HOT theorist should be willing to pay. (shrink)
The title question should be construed as an epistemological and not ontological one. Omitting the difficult problems of the ontology of intentionality we will ask, if all, what is needed to explain the phenomenon of meaningful use of words, could be found “in our private head” interpreted as a sphere of specific privileged access, the sphere that is in the relevant epistemological sense subjective, private or non public. There are many “mentalistic” theories of meaning that force us to the answer: (...) “yes”. According to these theories our words are meaningful in virtue of some intentions of the speaker. And our intentions consist in having some mental states that should be in the relevant sense subjective or private. (Searle, Chisholm) But there are also the philosophers (Kripke, Putnam) who claim to have the evidence to the contrary. They argue that the meanings of our words could not be “in the head”, because of two important reasons. (i) Very often we don’t know exactly the meanings of the words that we use meaningfully. Furthermore, our “semantical self-knowledge” is principally corrigible by other people, and hence our access to the meanings we use could be by no means privileged. And secondly (ii) we can imagine a situation in which two subjects with the same mental intention use the same word with the very different meanings. We will investigate our question on the ground of the Ingarden’s philosophy. As we will see, his answer turns out to be in an interesting sense: “yes and no”. (shrink)
It is often claimed that the beginnings of Brentano’s ontology were Aristotelian in nature; but this claim is only partially true. Certainly the young Brentano adopted many elements of Aristotle’s metaphysics, and he was deeply influenced by the Aristotelian way of doing philosophy. But he always interpreted Aristotle’s ideas in his own fashion. He accepted them selectively, and he used them in the service of ends that would not have been welcomed by Aristotle himself. The present paper is an exposition (...) of the development of Brentano’s ontology, beginning with the Lectures on Metaphysics first delivered by Brentano in Würzburg in 1867 and concluding with his late work from 1904–1917. (shrink)
In his recent book on the philosophy of mind,1 Tim Crane has maintained that intentionalobjects are to be conceived as schematic entities, having no particular intrinsic nature. I take this metaphysical thesis as fundamentally correct. Yet in this paper I want to cast some doubts on whether this thesis prevents intentionalia, especially nonexistent ones, from belonging to the general inventory of what there is, as Crane seems to think. If my doubts are grounded, Crane’s treatment of intentionalia (...) may further be freed from a certain tension that seems to affect it, namely the fact that he appeals to nonexistent intentionalia in order to individuate intentional states and at the same time he attempts at dispensing with them. (shrink)
The Author argues for a non-semantic theory of intentionality, i.e. a theory of intentional reference rooted in the perceptive world. Specifically, the paper concerns two aspects of the original theory of intentionality: the structure of intentionalobjects as appearance (an unfolding spatio-temporal structure endowed with a direction), and the cognitive processes involved in a psychic act at the primary level of cognition. Examples are given from the experimental psychology of vision, with a particular emphasis on the relation (...) between phenomenal space and colour appearances. (shrink)
In "Demonstratives" Kaplan claims that the occurrence of a demonstrative must be supplemented by an act of demonstration, like a pointing (a feature of the objective context). Conversely in "After-thoughts" Kaplan argues that the occurrence of a demonstrative must be supplemented by a directing intention (a feature of the intentional con-text). I present the two theories in competition and try to identify the constraints an intention must satisfy in order to have semantic rele-vance. My claim is that the analysis (...) of demonstrative reference pro-vides a reliable test for our intuitions on the relation between objective and intentional context. I argue that the speaker's intentions can play a semantic role only if they satisfy an Availability Constraint: an inten-tion must be made available or communicated to the addressee, and for that purpose the speaker can exploit any feature of the objective con-text. This thesis implies the reconciliation between "Demonstratives" and "Afterthoughts". (shrink)
The thesis defended is that ordinary perception does not present us with the existential independence of its objects from itself. The phenomenology of ordinary perception is mute with respect to the subject-object distinction. I call this view "phenomenal neutral monism" : though neutral monists are wrong about the metaphysics of perception (in every perceptual episode, there is a distinction between the perceptual act and its perceptual objet), they are right about its phenomenology. I first argue that this view is (...) not as counter-intuitive as it might initially seem, by stressing (i) that the lack of presentation of the mind-independence of perceptual objects does not entail their being presented as mind-dependent. (ii) That phenomenal neutral monism is true of ordinary perception in the thin sense, but not in the thick sense (that includes expectations, guesses, feelings etc. grounded on thin perception). (iii) That the concept of a perceptual perspective or point of view should not be confused with the concept of the subject or intentional act of perception. Second, I propose three positive arguments in favor of phenomenal neutral monism. (i) It does justice to the recurring idea that only resistance to our will presents us with the world qua independent from us. (ii) It does justice to the recurring idea that the most natural attitude towards the perceptual world is that of being absorbed in it. (iii) It is entailed by the view that intentional acts are phenomenally transparent (a view held by Russell and Moore, and most contemporary representationalists) together with the view that in order to be presented with a relation (here the act-object distinction) one has to be presented with its relata. (shrink)
"Nowadays, a need for formal tools is strongly felt in the treatment of two special areas of ontological inquiry. One area is concerned with intentionalobjects, an area which seems to contain diﬃculties on the level of things, but also on the level of states of aﬀairs, facts and other "propositional" entities. An intentional relation holds between either persons (more generally experiencing subjects) or acts of consciousness on the one hand, and the intentionalobjects on (...) the other. The latter are what people see, fear, expect, look for; and the problem, naturally, consists in the fact that – contrary to.. (shrink)
This paper is about perception and its objects. My aim is to suggest a new way to articulate some of the central ideas of direct realism. Sections 1 and 2 offer from different perspectives a panoramic view of the main problems and options in the philosophy of perception. Section 3 introduces the notion of “camouflage” as an interesting and promising alternative in order to explain the nature of the intentionalobjects of perception. Finally, section 4 makes use (...) of this new notion in the analysis of the relationships between the intentionality of perception, the intentionality of thought, and the intentionality of language. (shrink)
I argue that Reid adopts a form of Meinongianism about fictional objects because of, not in spite of, his common sense philosophy. According to 'the way of ideas', thoughts take representational states as their immediate intentionalobjects. In contrast, Reid endorses a direct theory of conception and a heady thesis of first-person privileged access to the contents of our thoughts. He claims that thoughts about centaurs are thoughts of non-existent objects, not thoughts about mental intermediaries, adverbial (...) states or general concepts. In part this is because of the common sense semantics he adopts for fictional-object terms. I show that it is reasonable for Reid to endorse Meinongianism, given his epistemological priorities, for he took the way of ideas to imply that his view about first-person privileged access to our mental contents was false. (shrink)
In this essay I offer a theory of the outward directedness of intentional states, namely, an account of what makes intentional states directed at their respective intentionalobjects. The theory is meant to be complementary to the canonical interactivist account of mental content in that the latter emphasizes the predicative, intensional, and internal aspects of representation whereas here I shall focus on its denotative, extensional, and external aspects. Thus, the aim is to establish that the two (...) projects are not only consistent but mutually supportive. Further, it is hoped that supplementing the interactivist conception of representation with a theory of intentional directedness along such lines will increase its overall appeal to critical readers. Based on the core idea that the directedness of a representation is a function of the manner in which it is constructed within, and contributes to the ongoing unfolding of a dynamical interactive loop connecting information to focused action, the theory is subsequently extended to cover many problem domains familiarly associated with representation and reference. (shrink)
Meinong's theory of defective objects in On Emotional Presentation is ambiguous in ways which give rise to a dilemma. It is not clear whether or not defective objects are supposed to be a special kind of intentional object. If they are intentionalobjects, then a strengthened version of Mally's paradox about self-referential thought can be given which contradicts the intentionality thesis. But if they are not intentionalobjects, then thoughts with defective objects (...) themselves constitute immediate counter-examples to the intentionality thesis. In either case, the theory of defective objects cannot be made logically consistent with both the possibility of self-referential thought and the intentionality thesis in its full generality. (shrink)
The “New Natural Law” Theory (NNL) of Germain Grisez, John Finnis, Joseph Boyle, and their collaborators offers a distinctive account of intentional action, which underlies a moral theory that aims to justify many aspects of traditional morality and Catholic doctrine. -/- In fact, we show that the NNL is committed to premises that entail the permissibility of many actions that are irreconcilable with traditional morality and Catholic doctrine, such as elective abortions. These consequences follow principally from two aspects of (...) the NNL. The first aspect is its distinctive version of the planning theory of intention, in which adopting the 'first-person perspective' of an agent is a sufficient, and not merely necessary, condition for determining the nature of his intentional action; this planning theory rests upon an implicitly Cartesian conception of human behavior, in which behavior chosen by an agent has no intrinsic “intentionalness” apart from what he confers upon it as part of his plan. The second aspect is the NNL's distinctive account of basic human goods' incommensurability, according to which there is no common factor shared by basic human goods that allows them to be comparatively ranked in any way that directs practical deliberation. -/- The entailments of these two aspects of the NNL, we argue, amount to a reductio ad absurdum. Pace the proponents of the NNL account, we sketch an alternative hylomorphic conception of intentional action that avoids untoward moral implications by grounding human agency in the exercise of basic powers that are either (a) essential constituents of human nature or (b) acquired through participation in social practices. This conception of intentional action provides a stronger foundation for natural law theory. (shrink)
In his ecological approach to perception, james gibson introduced the concept of affordance to refer to the perceived meaning of environmental objects and events. this paper examines the relational and causal character of affordances, as well as the grounds for extending affordances beyond environmental features with transcultural meaning to include those features with culturally-specific meaning. such an extension is seen as warranted once affordances are grounded in an intentional analysis of perception. toward this end, aspects of merleau-ponty's treatment (...) of perception are explored. finally, a resolution of the apparent tension between the relational and perceiver-independent nature of affordances is presented. (shrink)
Newcomers to the philosophy of mind are sometimes resistant to the idea that pain is a mental state. If asked to defend their view, they might say something like this: pain is a physical state, it is a state of the body. A pain in one’s leg feels to be in the leg, not ‘in the mind’. After all, sometimes people distinguish pain which is ‘all in the mind’ from a genuine pain, sometimes because the second is ‘physical’ while the (...) first is not. And we also occasionally distinguish mental pain (which is normally understood as some kind of emotional distress) from the ‘physical pain’ one feels in one’s body. So what can be meant by saying that pain is a mental state? Of course, it only takes a little reflection shows that this naive view is mistaken. Pain is a state of consciousness, or an event in consciousness, and whether or not all states of mind are conscious, it is indisputable that only minds, or states of mind, are conscious.2 But does the naive view tell us anything about the concept of pain, or the concept of mind? I think it does. In this paper, I shall give reasons for thinking that consciousness is a form of intentionality, the mind’s ‘direction upon its objects’. I shall claim that the consciousness involved in bodily sensations like pain is constituted by the mind’s direction upon the part or region of the body where the sensation feels to be. Given this, it is less surprising that the naive view of pain says what it does: the apparent ‘physicality’ of pain is a consequence of confusing the object of the intentional state—the part of the body in which the pain is felt—with the state of being in pain. (shrink)
Strong or Pure Intentionalism is the claim that the phenomenal character of any perceptual experience can be exhaustively characterized solely by reference to its Intentional content. Strong or Pure Anti-Intentionalism is the claim that the phenomenal character of any perceptual experience can be exhaustively characterized solely by reference to its non-Intentional properties. In Chapters One and Two, I consider how best to delineate the opposition between these positions. I reject various characterizations of the distinction, in particular, that it (...) can be captured in modal terms. Pure Intentionalist and Pure Anti-Intentionalist accounts can in fact share a modal profile. The most fundamental way of distinguishing Intentionalism from Anti-Intentionalism is in terms of the Intentionalist claim that experiences have contents with truth or satisfaction conditions. Characterized in this way, Intentionalism is committed to the claim that perceptual experience exhibits a certain kind of generality in that perceptual experiences essentially present their objects as being certain general ways. In contrast, the anti-Intentionalist denies that talk of seeing objects as certain kinds of object or as particular objects of those kinds provides a characterization of any aspect of the phenomenal character of perceptual experience. Anti-Intentionalist theories must, therefore, account for phenomenal character wholly in terms of particularist properties. In Chapters Three and Four, I argue that neither of these pure views of experience can do justice to the phenomenology of our ordinary perceptual encounters with the world. In Chapter Three, I contend that Pure Anti- Intentionalism, at least in the form of Bill Brewer’s Object View, fails to provide a satisfactory account of the phenomenology of aspect shifts and continuous aspect perception. Furthermore, I argue that the Object View’s accounts of perceptual illusion are ill-motivated and fundamentally unsatisfactory. In Chapter Four, I argue that Pure Intentionalism is inconsistent with the phenomenologically evident fact that experiences are durational events which unfold over time. Accordingly, the assumption that the phenomenal character of perceptual experience must be wholly characterized in terms of one kind of property, be it Intentionalist or non-Intentionalist, should be rejected. Any plausible theory of experience must appeal to different kinds of phenomenal property. In Chapter Five, I defend a view which does just this: the Catholic View of experience. The Catholic View claims that the phenomenal character of any mature human experience must be characterized in terms of both particularist and Intentional properties. I conclude by showing how this account avoids the most serious criticisms that have been levelled against the idea of non-representational, or ‘given’ elements in experience. (shrink)
In this chapter I look closely at the intentionality of consciousness from a naturalistic perspective. I begin with a consideration of Gurwitsch's suggestive ideas about the role of acts of consciousness in constituting both the objects and the subjects of consciousness. I turn next to a discussion of how these ideas relate to my own empirical approach to intentional relations seen from a developmental perspective. This is followed by a discussion of some recent ideas in philosophical cognitive science (...) on the intentionality of consciousness, both with respect to the objects and the subjects of consciousness. I show that these recent trends tend to naturalize intentionality and consciousness in directions compatible with the descriptive aspects of Gurwitsch's constitutive phenomenology. (shrink)
In the past few years, a number of philosophers (notably, Siewert, C. (The significance of consciousness. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998); Horgan and Tienson (Philosophy of mind: Classical and contemporary readings, Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 520–533); Pitt 2004) have maintained the following three theses: (1) there is a distinctive sort of phenomenology characteristic of conscious thought, as opposed to other sorts of conscious mental states; (2) different conscious thoughts have different phenomenologies; and (3) thoughts with the same phenomenology have (...) the same intentional content. The last of these three claims is open to at least two different interpretations. It might mean that the phenomenology of a thought expresses its intentional content, where intentional content is understood as propositional, and propositions are understood as mind-and language-independent abstract entities (such as sets of possible worlds, functions from possible worlds to truth-values, structured n-tuples of objects and properties, etc.). And it might mean that the phenomenology of a thought is its intentional content—that is, that the phenomenology of a thought, like the phenomenology of a sensation, constitutes its content. The second sort of view is a kind of psychologism. Psychologistic views hold that one or another sort of thing—numbers, sentences, propositions, etc.—that we can think or know about is in fact a kind of mental thing. Since Frege, psychologism has been in bad repute among analytic philosophers. It is widely held that Frege showed that such views are untenable, since, among other things, they subjectivize what is in fact objective, and, hence, relativize such things as consistency and truth to the peculiarities of human psychology. The purpose of this paper is to explore the consequences of the thesis that intentional mental content is phenomenological (what I call “intentional psychologism”) and to try to reach a conclusion about whether it yields a tenable view of mind, thought and meaning. I believe the thesis is not so obviously wrong as it will strike many philosophers of mind and language. In fact, it can be defended against the standard objections to psychologism, and it can provide the basis for a novel and interesting account of mentality. (shrink)
I have argued elsewhere that the psychological aspects of Nietzsche’s later works are best understood from a psychodynamic point of view. Nietzsche holds a view I dubbed the tenacity of the intentional (T): when an intentional state loses its object, a new object replaces the original; the state does not disappear entirely. In this essay I amend and clarify (T) to (T``): When an intentional state with a sub-propositional object loses its object, the affective component of the (...) state persists without a corresponding object, and that affect will generally be redeployed in a state with a distinct object. I then trace the development of the tenacity thesis through Nietzsche’s early and middle works. Along the way, I discuss a number of related topics, including the scope of the tenacity thesis (does it apply to all intentional states?), the reflexive turn one often finds in Nietzsche’s examples (why does he so often say the new object is oneself?), and the relations among will to power, drives, and the tenacity of the intentional. (shrink)
Edmund Husserl (1859—1938) was an influential thinker of the first half of the twentieth century. His philosophy was heavily influenced by the works of Franz Brentano and Bernard Bolzano, and was also influenced in various ways by interaction with contemporaries such as Alexius Meinong, Kasimir Twardowski, and Gottlob Frege. In his own right, Husserl is considered the founder of twentieth century Phenomenology with influence extending to thinkers such as Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and to contemporary continental philosophy generally. (...) Husserl’s philosophy is also being discussed in connection with contemporary research in the cognitive sciences, logic, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mind, as well as in discussions of collective intentionality. At the center of Husserl’s philosophical investigations is the notion of the intentionality of consciousness and the related notion of intentional content (what Husserl first called ‘act-matter’ and then the intentional ‘noema’). To say that thought is “intentional” is to say that it is of the nature of thought to be directed toward or about objects. To speak of the “intentional content” of a thought is to speak of the mode or way in which a thought is about an object. Different thoughts present objects in different ways (from different perspectives or under different descriptions) and one way of doing justice to this fact is to speak of these thoughts as having different intentional contents. For Husserl, intentionality includes a wide range of phenomena, from perceptions, judgments, and memories to the experience of other conscious subjects as subjects (inter-subjective experience) and aesthetic experience, just to name a few. Given the pervasive role he takes intentionality to play in all thought and experience, Husserl believes that a systematic theory of intentionality has a role to play in clarifying and founding most other areas of philosophical concern, such as the theory of consciousness, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of logic, epistemology, and the philosophies of action and value. This article presents the key elements of Husserl’s understanding of intentionality and intentional content, specifically as these are developed in his works Logical Investigations and Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy. (shrink)
Abstract It is widely assumed that the meaning of at least some types of expressions involves more than their reference to objects, and hence that there may be co-referential expressions which differ in meaning. It is also widely assumed that ?syntax does not suffice for semantics?, i.e. that we cannot account for the fact that expressions have semantic properties in purely syntactical or computational terms. The main goal of the paper is to argue against a third related assumption, namely (...) that what is responsible for a difference in meaning between co-referential expressions is the computational difference in the cognitive functioning of the expressions. ?Intentional aspects? of expressions?those features which their meanings involve in addition to reference?cannot be syntacticized, since they are individuated not in terms of any cognitive feature, but rather in terms of those properties of the referents through which the expressions refer to them, and cognitive features cannot determine such properties in exactly the same sense as they cannot determine reference. (shrink)
In opposition to the tenet of contemporary action theory that an intentional action must be done for a reason, I argue that some intentional actions are unmotivated. I provide examples of arbitrary and habitual actions that are done for no reason at all. I consider and rebut an objection to the examples of unmotivated habitual action. I explain how my contention differs from recent challenges to the tenet by Hursthouse, Stocker and Pollard.
In this paper, I will explore a notion of a truth-bearing entity that is distinct both from a proposition and from an intentional event, state, or action, and that is the notion of an attitudinal object. Attitudinal objects are entities like ‘John’s belief that S’, John’s claim that S’, ‘John’s desire that S’, or ‘John’s request that S’. The notion of an attitudinal object has an important precedent in the work of the Polish philosopher Twardowski (1912), who drew (...) a more general distinction between ‘actions’ and ‘products’, such as walking, screaming, judging, and thinking on the one hand and a walk, a scream, a judgment, and a thought on the other hand. While Twardowski left the distinction at an intuitive level, I will propose an ontological account of the distinction, based on the notion of a trope or particularized property. (shrink)
The paper argues that the objects of belief should not be conceived as sets of possible worlds or propositions of set of centered possible worlds or egocentric propositions (this is the propositional conception), but rather as sets of pairs consisting of a centered world and a sequence of objects (this is the intentional conception of the objects of belief). The paper explains the deep significance of this thesis for the framework of two-dimensional semantics, indeed for any (...) framework trying to adequately relate semantics and epistemology (which is here construed as what I call the Congruence Principle). I give three arguments for this thesis, two preliminary indecisive ones by way of examples, and third theoretical one alluding to a deep principle of philosophical psychology (which I call the Invariance Principle). This paper is an improved and up-dated version of my paper No. 25. It will appear in Causation, Coherence, and Concepts. A Collection of Essays of mine. (shrink)
This discussion paper proposes that a meaningful distinction between science and technoscience can be found at the level of the objects of research. Both notions intermingle in the attitudes, intentions, programs and projects of researchers and research institutions—that is, on the side of the subjects of research. But the difference between science and technoscience becomes more explicit when research results are presented in particular settings and when the objects of research are exhibited for the specific interest they hold. (...) When an experiment is presented as scientific evidence which confirms or disconfirms a hypothesis, this agrees with traditional conceptions of science. When organic molecules are presented for their capacity to serve individually as electric wires that carry surprisingly large currents, this would be a hallmark of technoscience. Accordingly, we propose research on the ontology of research objects. The focus on the character and significance of research objects makes this a specifically philosophical project. (shrink)
Abstract: I address the issue of how pretence emerged in evolution by reviewing the (mostly negative) evidence about pretend behaviour in non-human primates, and proposing a model of the type of information processing abilities that humans had to evolve in order to be able to pretend. Non-human primates do not typically pretend: there are just a few examples of potential pretend actions mostly produced by apes. The best, but still rare, examples are produced by so-called 'enculturated' apes (reared by humans) (...) and among them specially those that have been systematically trained to use symbols (so-called 'linguistic' apes). A hypothesis that would explain the lack of pretence in apes is that they lack the mentalistic ability of theory of mind. However, in the last years apes have been demonstrated to possess relatively sophisticated social cognitive skills, some of them ontogenetically appearing in humans alongside with or even after pretend play. As a solution to the paradox, I discuss a model according to which pretence is supported by a mechanism capable of computing intentional relations with non-existing objects or properties (Intentional non-existence), as opposed to mechanisms computing intentional relations with existing, although not necessarily currently perceived, objects (Intentional availability). Apes possess the latter, which allows them to solve a variety of theory of mind tasks, but not the former, which typically prevents them from developing pretence. (shrink)
In a late notation from 1932, Husserl emphasizes the fact that a broad concept of “apperception” should also include, alongside his usual examples, the apprehension of objects as bearers of an individual or inter-subjective past, specifically “indicated” with them; thus, he distinguishes between apperceptions “appresenting” a simultaneous content (co-presentations), anticipatory apperceptions pointing to future incidents, and retrospective apperceptions referring to “ad-memorized” ( hinzuerinnert , ad - memoriert ) features and events. The latter sort of apperceptions are involved not only (...) in our apprehension of historical traces and relics, but also in that of causal relations, familiar objects, and cultural objects in general. Following several later notations of Husserl concerning the topic of “apperceptions,” this paper outlines the specific intentional structure of retrospective or evocative apperceptions, analyzing their various possible forms. (shrink)
Barbara Stafford is at the forefront of a growing movement that calls for the humanities to confront the brain’s material realities. In Echo Objects she argues that humanists should seize upon the exciting neuroscientific discoveries that are illuminating the underpinnings of cultural objects. In turn, she contends, brain scientists could enrich their investigations of mental activity by incorporating phenomenological considerations—particularly the intricate ways that images focus intentional behavior and allow us to feel thought. This, then, is a (...) book for both sides of the aisle, a stunningly broad exploration of how complex images—or patterns that compress space and time—make visible the invisible ordering of human consciousness. Stafford demonstrates, for example, how the compound formats of emblems, symbols, collage, and electronic media reveal the brain’s grappling to construct mental objects that are redoubled by prior associations. On the other hand, she compellingly shows that findings in evolutionary biology and the neurosciences are providing profound opportunities for understanding aesthetic conundrums as old and deep-seated as the human urge to imitate, the mapping of inner space, and the role of narrative and nonnarrative representation. As precise in her discussions of firing neurons as she is about the coordinating dynamics of image making, Stafford locates these major transdisciplinary issues at the intersection of art, science, philosophy, and technology. Ultimately, she makes an impassioned plea for a common purpose—for the acknowledgement that, at the most basic level, these separate projects belong to a single investigation. (shrink)
In this essay I show that Structuralism, in order to combat the impression that it is “untenable and outmoded,” needs to be attached to a phenomenology of transcendental intersubjectivity. My argument for this conclusion is: 1) that Peter Caws is right in arguing that Structuralism needs a notion of the transcendental subject because its objects, qua intentional, presuppose such a subject; 2) the objects withwhich Structuralism is concemed are objects in the sense that Husserl speaks of (...)objects ofthe spiritual world; and, 3) the spiritual world, indeed the world in general, is constituted intersubjectively. Therefore, Structuralism needs a notion of transcendental intersubjectivity.Dans cet essai, je démontre que le structuralisme doit être rattaché à une phénoménologie de l’intersubjectivité transcendantale afin d’éviter l’impression qu’il donne d’être «intenable et démodé». J’appuie cette conclusion à l’aide des arguments suivants: 1) Peter Caws a raison d’arguer que le structuralisme a besoin d’une notion de sujet transcendantal parce que ses objets, en tant qu’intentionnels, présupposent un tel sujet; 2) les objets dont s’occupe le structuralisme sont des objets au sens oú Husserl parle d’objets du monde spirituel; et 3) le monde spirituel, enfait le monde en général, est constitué de façon intersubjective. Ainsi, le structuralisme requiert une notion d’intersubjectivité transcendantale. (shrink)
What is the metaphysical significance of what Brentano has shown us about intentionality? It is the fact that intentional phenomena have logical or structural features that are not shared by what is not psychological. It was typical of British empiricism, particularly that of Hume, to suppose that consciousness is essentially sensible. The objects of consciousness were thought to be primarily such objects as sensations and their imagined or dreamed counterparts. In the Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt, Brentano makes (...) clear that intentional phenomena need not be sensible. He is aware that, even if intentional phenomena are always accompanied by sensible or sensational phenomena, they are not themselves sensational or sensible phenomena. And the presence of certain intentional attitudes is at least as certain and indubitable for us as is the presence of our sensations. If I make a certain judgment or ask myself a certain question, then I can know directly and immediately that I make that judgment or ask that question. (This is not to say, of course, that every intentional attitude may be the object of such certainty. Perhaps there is a sense in which you may be said to like or to dislike a certain thing without realizing that you like or dislike that thing.) If I can know directly and immediately that I am making a certain judgment, then, I can know what it is to make such a judgment. And if I know what it is to make a judgment, then, in making the judgment I can know directly and immediately that there is a certain individual thing - namely, the one who makes the judgment. Arid I, of course, am the one who makes my judgments and does my thinking. The same is true, obviously, of my other intentional activities - such activities as wondering, fearing, hoping, desiring, considering, liking and disliking. (shrink)
Terence Parsons has recently given a consistent formahzation of Meinong's Theory of Objects. The interest in this theory lies in its postulation of nonexistent objects. An important implication of the theory is that we commonly refer to nonexistent objects. In particular, the theory is committed to taking fictional entities as objects of reference. Yet it is difficult to see how reference to fictional entities can be estabHshed if Parsons' theory is correct. This difficulty diminishes the attractiveness (...) of the theory and also raises questions as to the ability of the theory to give a satisfactory account of intentional attitudes towards fictional entities. (shrink)
Meinong's object theory is primarily motivated by the needs of intentionality theory. I argue that Meinongian objects must be intensional entities if, as asked, they are to serve as the objects of thought in a purely object-theoretic account of intentionality. For Meinong, incomplete objects are the proper objects of thought. Complete objects are beyond our grasp; we apprehend them as best we can when we intend incomplete objects embedded in them. This yields, on a (...) semantic plane, an account of failures or substitutivity of identity in intentional contexts. And this, I argue, forces incomplete objects to be intensional, and so therefore are complete objects. (shrink)
Abstract: The ‘feeling theory of emotion’ holds that emotions are to be identified with feelings. An objection commonly made to that theory of emotion has it that emotions cannot be feelings only, as emotions have intentionalobjects. Jack does not just feel fear, but he feels fear-of-something. To explain this property of emotion we will have to ascribe to emotion a representational structure, and feelings do not have the sought after representational structure. In this paper I seek to (...) defend the feeling theory of emotion against the challenge from the object-directed emotions. (shrink)
Vision has been the primary focus of naturalistic philosophical research concerning perception and perceptual experience. Guided by visual experience and vision science, many philosophers have focused upon theoretical issues dealing with the perception of objects. Recently, however, hearing researchers have discussed auditory objects. I present the case for object perception in vision, and argue that an analog of object perception occurs in auditory perception. I propose a notion of an auditory object that is stronger than just that of (...) an intentional object of audition, but that does not identify auditory objects with the ordinary material objects we see. (shrink)
Four experiments examined people’s folk-psychological concept of intentional action. The chief question was whether or not _evaluative _considerations — considerations of good and bad, right and wrong, praise and blame — played any role in that concept. The results indicated that the moral qualities of a behavior strongly influence people’s judgements as to whether or not that behavior should be considered ‘intentional.’ After eliminating a number of alternative explanations, the author concludes that this effect is best explained by (...) the hypothesis that evaluative considerations do play some role in people’s concept of intentional action.<b> </b>. (shrink)
The special composition question asks, roughly, under what conditions composition occurs. The common sense view is that composition only occurs among some things and that all and only ‘ordinary objects’ exist. Peter van Inwagen has marshaled a devastating argument against this view. The common sense view appears to commit one to giving what van Inwagen calls a ‘series-style answer’ to the special composition question, but van Inwagen argues that series-style answers are impossible because they are inconsistent with the transitivity (...) of parthood. In what follows I answer this objection in addition to other, less troubling objections raised by van Inwagen. (shrink)
Drawing on different suggestions from the literature, we outline a unified metaphysical framework, labeled as Modal Meinongian Metaphysics (MMM), combining Meinongian themes with a non-standard modal ontology. The MMM approach is based on (1) a comprehension principle (CP) for objects in unrestricted, but qualified form, and (2) the employment of an ontology of impossible worlds, besides possible ones. In §§1–2, we introduce the classical Meinongian metaphysics and consider two famous Russellian criticisms, namely (a) the charge of inconsistency and (b) (...) the claim that naïve Meinongianism allows one to prove that anything exists. In §3, we have impossible worlds enter the stage and provide independent justification for their use. In §4, we introduce our revised comprehension principle: our CP has no restriction on the (sets of) properties that can characterize objects, but parameterizes them to worlds, therefore having modality explicitly built into it. In §5, we propose an application of the MMM apparatus to fictional objects and defend the naturalness of our treatment against alternative approaches. Finally, in §6, we consider David Lewis’ notorious objection to impossibilia, and provide a reply to it by resorting to an ersatz account of worlds. (shrink)
I argue (1) that metaphysical views of material objects should be understood as 'packages', rather than individual claims, where the other parts of the package include how the theory addresses 'recalcitant data' (such as - the denier of artifacts has to account, somehow, for the seeming truth of 'there are three pencils on my table'), and (2) that when the packages meet certain general desiderata - which all of the currently competing views *can* meet - there is nothing in (...) the world that could make one of the theories true as opposed to any of the others. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with neo-Fregean accounts of reference to abstract objects. It develops an objection to the most familiar such accounts, due to Bob Hale and Crispin Wright, based upon what I call the 'proliferation problem': Hale and Wright's account makes reference to abstract objects seem too easy, as is shown by the fact that any equivalence relation seems as good as any other. The paper then develops a response to this objection, and offers an account of (...) what it is for abstracta to exist that is Fregean in spirit but more robust than familiar views. (shrink)
This short paper, forthcoming as part of a symposium on experimental philosophy to appear in the popular publication, The Philosophers’ Magazine (including contributions by Papineau, Stich, Machery, Sommers, and Knobe), offers an accessible summary of seven years of experimental-philosophical research into intentional action attributions.
Intentional action involves both a series of neural events in the motor areas of the brain, and also a distinctive conscious experience that ''I'' am the author of the action. This paper investigates some possible ways in which these neural and phenomenal events may be related. Recent models of motor prediction are relevant to the conscious experience of action as well as to its neural control. Such models depend critically on matching the actual consequences of a movement against its (...) internally predicted effects. However, it remains unclear whether our conscious experience of action depends on a precise matching process, or a retrospective inference that ''I'' must have been responsible for a particular event. We report an experiment in which normal subjects judged the perceived time of either intentional actions, involuntary movements, or subsequent effects (auditory tones) of these. We found that the subject's intention to produce the auditory tone produced an intentional binding between the perceived times of the subject's action and the tone. However, if the intention was interrupted by an imposed involuntary movement, followed by the identical tone, no such binding occurred. The phenomenology of intentional action requires an appropriate predictive link between intentions and effects, rather than a retrospective inference that ''I'' caused the effect. (shrink)
Knobe argues that people’s judgments of the moral status of a side-effect of action influence their assessment of whether the side-effect is intentional. We tested this hypothesis using vignettes akin to Knobe’s but involving economically or eudaimonistically (wellness-related) negative side-effects. Our results show that it is people’s sense of what agents deserve and not the moral status of side-effects that drives intuition.
This paper argues that a theory of situated vision, suited for the dual purposes of object recognition and the control of action, will have to provide something more than a system that constructs a conceptual representation from visual stimuli: it will also need to provide a special kind of direct (preconceptual, unmediated) connection between elements of a visual representation and certain elements in the world. Like natural language demonstratives (such as `this' or `that') this direct connection allows entities to be (...) referred to without being categorized or conceptualized. Several reasons are given for why we need such a preconcep- tual mechanism which individuates and keeps track of several individual objects in the world. One is that early vision must pick out and compute the relation among several individual objects while ignoring their properties. Another is that incrementally computing and updating representations of a dynamic scene requires keeping track of token individuals despite changes in their properties or locations. It is then noted that a mechanism meeting these requirements has already been proposed in order to account for a number of disparate empiri- cal phenomena, including subitizing, search-subset selection and multiple object tracking (Pylyshyn et al., Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology 48(2) (1994) 260). This mechanism, called a visual index or FINST, is brie. (shrink)
In this paper, we see that contrary to most readings of T 1.4.2 in the Treatise (“Of Skepticism with Regard to the Senses”), Hume does not think that objects are sense impressions. This means that Hume’s position on objects (whatever that may be) is not to be conflated with the vulgar perspective. Moreover, the vulgar perspective undergoes a marked transition in T 1.4.2, evolving from what we may call vulgar perspective I into vulgar perspective II. This paper presents (...) the first detailed analysis of this evolution, which includes an explanation of T 1.4.2’s four-part system. (shrink)
The ‘Knobe effect’ is the name given to the empirical finding that judgments about whether an action is intentional or not seem to depend on the moral valence of this action. To account for this phenomenon, Scaife and Webber have recently advanced the ‘Consideration Hypothesis’, according to which people’s ascriptions of intentionality are driven by whether they think the agent took the outcome in consideration when taking his decision. In this paper, I examine Scaife and Webber’s hypothesis and conclude (...) that it is supported neither by the existing literature nor by their own experiments, whose results I did not replicate, and that the ‘Consideration Hypothesis’ is not the best available account of the ‘Knobe Effect’. (shrink)
The 'one-world' interpretation of Kant's idealism holds that appearances and things in themselves are, in some sense, the same things. Yet this reading faces a number of problems, all arising from the different features Kant seems to assign to appearances and things in themselves. I propose a new way of understanding the appearance/thing in itself distinction via an Aristotelian notion that I call, following Kit Fine, a 'qua-object.' Understanding appearances and things in themselves as qua-objects provides a clear sense (...) in which they can be the same things while differing in many of their features. (shrink)
I argue for the following analysis of a freely willed action: an act is done of one's own free will, if and only if, it is an intentional act performed by one acting as a rational agent from unobstructed reasons, and so situated that he or she has the capacity to forbear from performing it.
The paper motivates a novel research programme in the philosophy of action parallel to the ‘Knowledge First’ programme in epistemology. It is argued that much of the grounds for abandoning the quest for a reductive analysis of knowledge in favour of the Knowledge First alternative are mirrored in the case of intentional action, inviting the hypothesis that intentional action is also, like knowledge, metaphysically basic. The paper goes on to demonstrate the sort of explanatory contribution that intentional (...) action can make once it is no longer taken to be a target for reductive analysis, in explaining other, non-intentional kinds of action and voluntariness. (shrink)
It is natural to think that at root, agents are beings that act. Agents do more than this, however – agents omit to act. Sometimes agents do so intentionally. How should we understand intentional omission? Recent accounts of intentional omission have given causation a central theoretical role. The move is well-motivated. If some form of causalism about intentional omission can successfully exploit similarities between action and omission, it might inherit the broad support causalism about intentional action (...) enjoys. In this paper I consider the prospects for causalism about intentional omission. I examine two recent proposals: one Carolina Sartorio (2009) defends, and one Randolph Clarke (2010a) defends. I argue these versions fail, and for a similar reason. Reflection on the function of intention for agency brings this reason to light, and motivates a novel causalism about intentional omission. On the account I go on to defend necessarily, an agent J intentionally omits to A only if an intention of J’s with relevant content (or the intention’s acquisition) causes in J a disposition not to A. Though the causal work done by intentions to omit differs in some cases from the causal work done by intentions to act, it turns out that causalism about intentional behavior (i.e., about action and omission) is viable. (shrink)
Philosophers have defended various views about abstract objects by appealing to metaphysical considerations, considerations regarding mathematics or science, and, not infrequently, intuitions about natural language. This book pursues the question of how and whether natural language allows for reference to abstract objects in a fully systematic way. By making full use of contemporary linguistic semantics, it presents a much greater range of linguistic generalizations than has previously been taken into consideration in philosophical discussions, and it argues for an (...) ontological picture is very different from that generally taken for granted by philosophers and semanticists alike. Reference to abstract objects such as properties, numbers, propositions, and degrees is considerably more marginal than generally held. (shrink)
I argue that intentional psychology does not stand in need of vindication by a lower-level implementation theory from cognitive science, in particular the representational theory of mind (RTM), as most famously Jerry Fodor has argued. The stance of the paper is novel in that I claim this holds even if one, in line with Fodor, views intentional psychology as an empirical theory, and its theoretical posits as as real as those of other sciences. I consider four metaphysical arguments (...) for the idea that intentional psychological states, such as beliefs, must be seen as requiring in-the-head mental representations for us to be able to understand their characteristic causal powers and argue that none of them validly generate their desired conclusions. I go on to argue that RTM, or some computational version thereof, is not motivated by appeal to the nature of cognitive science research either. I conclude that intentional psychology, though an empirical theory, is autonomous from details of lower level mechanism in a way that renders RTM unwarranted. (shrink)
An account of non-existing objects called 'classical possibilism', according to which objects that don't actually exist do exist in various other ways, is implemented in a two-dimensional modal logic with non-traditional predication theory. This account is very similar to Priest's, but preserves bivalence and does not endorse dialethism. The power of classical possibilism is illustrated by giving some examples that makes use of a description theory of reference. However, the same effect could also be achieved in a more (...) Millian fashion. It is argued that classical possibilism is ontologically more neutral than is commonly thought, because it allows for the formulation of various forms of reductionism within the object language. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that, to make intentional actions fully intelligible, we need to posit representations of action the content of which is nonconceptual. I further argue that an analysis of the properties of these nonconceptual representations, and of their relation- ships to action representations at higher levels, sheds light on the limits of intentional control. On the one hand, the capacity to form nonconceptual representations of goal-directed movements underscores the capacity to acquire executable concepts of these (...) movements, thus allowing them to come under intentional control. On the other hand, the degree of autonomy these nonconceptual representations enjoy, and the specific temporal constraints stemming from their role in motor control, set limits on intentional control over action execution. (shrink)
My aim in this article is to ascertain whether any of the interesting phenomena that Daniel Wegner discusses in The Illusion of Conscious Will (2002) falsify a certain hypothesis about intentional actions. Here is a rough, preliminary statement of the hypothesis: Whenever human agents perform an overt, intentional action, A, some intention of theirs is a cause of A. The hypothesis is refined in section 1. In section 2, I turn to this article's main question.
It is argued that there are ways of individuating the objects of perception without using sortal concepts. The result is an moderate anti-sortalist position on which one can single out objects using demonstrative expressions without knowing exactly what sort of thing those objects are.
Critics of wide functionalism have traditionally sought to attack the theory by exposing weaknesses in its account of the qualitative content of experience. Wide functionalist theories of intentional content, however, were spared philosophical scrutiny. I propose that wide functionalist accounts of the intentional content are equally susceptible to attack. I will attempt to demonstrate this by enlisting the functionalist's old foe from the qualia wars - the inverted spectrum hypothesis - in a new way. If the argument is (...) sound, not only will I have shown that the inverted spectrum hypothesis may have more use than philosophical literature recognizes, I will have also exposed a weakness in a dominant philosophical theory: the wide functionalist theory of intentional content. (shrink)
We propose a formal representation of objects , those being mathematical or empirical objects. The powerful framework inside which we represent them in a unique and coherent way is grounded, on the formal side, in a logical approach with a direct mathematical semantics in the well-established field of constructive topology, and, on the philosophical side, in a neo-Kantian perspective emphasizing the knowing subject’s role, which is constructive for the mathematical objects and constitutive for the empirical ones.
A reply to Arda Denkel's argument that it is not possible to have matter without objects. I argue that the argument assumes that having a 'form' is being sufficient for the existence of an object, which the opponent should not be thought to grant.
Idealist philosophers have traditionally tried to defend their views by appealing to the claim that nonmental reality is inconceivable. A standard response to this inconceivability claim is to try to show that it is only plausible if one blurs the fundamental distinction between consciousness and its object. I try to rehabilitate the idealistic argument by presenting an alternative formulation of the idealist’s basic inconceivability claim. Rather than suggesting that all objects are inconceivable apart from consciousness, I suggest that it (...) is impossible to conceive of any such object as genuinely existent. This thesis is lent credence by the fact that only in reflective self-consciousness is existence a phenomenological datum. Not only is it the case that we are not ever aware of an object as existing, we do not have a clear understanding of what it would be like to have such an awareness. If this is true, then we have reason to believe that while consciousness exists, the objects of consciousness cannot exist. (shrink)
The problem of the many poses the task of explaining mereological indeterminacy of ordinary objects in a way that sustains our familiar practice of counting these objects. The aim of this essay is to develop a solution to the problem of the many that is based on an account of mereological indeterminacy as having its source in how ordinary objects are, independently of how we represent them. At the center of the account stands a quasi-hylomorphic ontology of (...) ordinary objects as material objects with multiple individual forms. (shrink)
What caused the event we report by saying “the window shattered”? Was it the baseball, which crashed into the window? Causal exclusionists say: many, many microparticles collectively caused that event—microparticles located where common sense supposes the baseball was. Unitary large objects such as baseballs cause nothing; indeed, by Alexander’s dictum, there are no such objects. This paper argues that the false claim about causal efficacy is instead the one that attributes it to the many microparticles. Causation obtains just (...) where there is an “invariance”, a true generalization to the effect that had things been different with the putative cause, things would have been correspondingly different with the putative effect. But “correspondingly” here requires a rough metric. There must be a fact as to which alternative group events, involving many microparticles, would have departed less from the putative cause of the shattering, and which would have departed more. Surprisingly, there is no such fact. (shrink)
This book provides the first comprehensive account of Hume’s conception of objects in Book I of the Treatise. What, according to Hume, are objects? Ideas? Impressions? Mind-independent objects? All three? None of the above? Through a close textual analysis, I show that Hume thought that objects are imagined ideas. However, I argue that he struggled with two accounts of how and when we imagine such ideas. On the one hand, Hume believed that we always and universally (...) imagine that objects are the causes of our perceptions. On the other hand, he thought that we only imagine such causes when we reach a “philosophical” level of thought. This tension manifests itself in Hume’s account of personal identity; a tension that, I argue, Hume acknowledges in the Appendix to the Treatise. As a result of presenting a detailed account of Hume’s conception of objects, we are forced to accommodate new interpretations of, at least, Hume’s notions of belief, personal identity, justification and causality. (shrink)
Brentano's philosophy of art, contained primarily in his book, Grundzuge der Ästhetik, is the result of an original theory of intrinsic value that was derived from Brentano's philosophical psychology. In his aesthetics, Brentano endeavored to find an objective ground for the value of aesthetic contemplation through his theory of the intentionalobjects of emotions and desires. The lack of attention Brentano's aesthetics has received is surprising, given that two of the many students Brentano influenced, Husserl (through the development (...) of the phenomenological movement) and Ehrenfels (through the development of Gestalt psychology) have had an extraordinary influence on twentieth century perceptions of art. In this paper I will attempt to redress some of this neglect by outlining Brentano's analysis of aesthetic intentions and the relationship his aesthetics bears to his overall philosophical system. (shrink)
Recent empirical work calls into question the so-called Simple View that an agent who A’s intentionally intends to A. In experimental studies, ordinary speakers frequently assent to claims that, in certain cases, agents who knowingly behave wrongly intentionally bring about the harm they do; yet the speakers tend to deny that it was the intention of those agents to cause the harm. This paper reports two additional studies that at first appear to support the original ones, but argues that in (...) fact, the evidence of all the studies considered is best understood in terms of the Simple View. (shrink)
This paper investigates the truth conditions of sentences containing indefinite noun phrases, focusing on occurrences in attitude reports, and, in particular, a puzzle case due to Walter Edelberg. It is argued that indefinites semantically contribute the (thought-)object they denote, in a manner analogous to attributive definite descriptions. While there is an existential reading of attitude reports containing indefinites, it is argued that the existential quantifier is contributed by the de re interpretation of the indefinite (as the de re reading adds (...) existential quantification to the interpretation of definites on Kaplan’s analysis). (shrink)
In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche demands that “psychology shall be recognized again as the queen of the sciences.” While one might cast a dubious glance at the “again,” many of Nietzsche’s insights were indeed psychological, and many of his arguments invoke psychological premises. In Genealogy, he criticizes the “English psychologists” for the “inherent psychological absurdity” of their theory of the origin of good and bad, pointing out the implausibility of the claim that the utility of unegoistic actions would be forgotten. Tabling (...) whether this criticism is valid, we see Nietzsche’s methodological naturalism here: moral claims should be grounded in empirical psychological claims. Later in Genealogy, Nietzsche advances his own naturalistic account of the origins of good, bad, and evil. Three cheers for methodological naturalism, but it was not Nietzsche’s innovation, and he did not pioneer its application to morality. The list of moral naturalists who appealed to psychology arguably includes Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Bentham, and Mill, among many others. If Nietzsche’s naturalism is to be worth the candle of contemporary scholarship, it must involve more than the methodological naturalism that predated him by centuries and to which he made no serious contribution. Nietzsche’s key contribution to naturalism is not his adherence to its methodology, but his discovery of certain psychological facts. In particular, he realized that mental states are not ordinary dyadic relations between a subject and an intentional content. Nietzsche discovered the tenacity of intentional states: when an intentional state loses its object (because the subject realizes the object does not exist, because the object is forbidden, or because of something else), a new object replaces the original; the state does not disappear entirely. As Nietzsche puts it Genealogy, “Man would rather will the void than be void of will.” Nietzsche relies on the tenacity thesis in his explanation of the origin of bad conscience: “All instincts that do not discharge themselves outwardly turn inward […. They turn] against [their] possessors.” When hostility towards others becomes impossible, hostility does not disappear; instead, its object is replaced. (shrink)
The most common philosophical view of existence is that existence amounts to existential quantification or is a second-order concept. A less common philosophical view is that existence is a first-order property distinguishing between nonexistent (past, possible, or merely intentional) objects and existing objects. An even less common philosophical view is that existence divides into different ‘modes of being’ for different kinds of entities. The aim of the present paper is to take a closer look at how the (...) notion of existence is in fact expressed in natural language. In natural language, it appears, existence is not so much expressed by quantification, which can be shown to be neutral as regards any distinction between existent and nonexistent objects that one might draw. Rather existence is expressed by predicates, and that is, first-order predicates, such as in English 'exist', 'occur', and 'obtain'. The semantic behavior of such existence predicates reveals a notion of existence that divides into at least three different kinds of modes being, reflecting the distinction between endurance and perdurance, as well as their space-related analogues, but also the particular mode of being of such entities as states, facts, conditions, and laws. (shrink)
This paper constitutes a defence of an affective account of emotion. I begin by outlining the case for thinking that emotions are just feelings. I also suggest that emotional feelings are not reducible to other kinds of feelings, but rather form a distinct class of feeling state. I then consider a number of common objections that have been raised against affective accounts of emotion, including: (1) the objection that emotion cannot always consist only of feeling because some emotions - for (...) example, indignation and regret - necessarily have a cognitive component (say, the perception of a lost opportunity in the case of regret); (2) the objection that emotion cannot consist only of feeling because in order to explain how emotions have intentionalobjects we will have to recognise that emotion consists of cognition; and (3) the objection that emotion cannot consist only of feeling because emotion, but not feeling, can be variously assessed or evaluated. However, I demonstrate how an affective account of emotion might be successfully defended against all of the objections that are cited. (shrink)
The achievement of intentional learning is a powerful paradigm for the objectives and methods of the teaching of philosophy. This paradigm sees the objectives and methods of such teaching as based not simply on the mastery of content, but as rooted in attempts to shape the various affective and cognitive factors that influence students’ learning efforts. The goal of such pedagogy is to foster an intentional learning orientation, one characterized by self-awareness, active monitoring of the learning process, and (...) a desire for publicly certified expertise. I provide a number of examples of philosophy-specific teaching strategies that follow this paradigm. (shrink)
Artifacts are objects intentionally made to serve a given purpose; natural objects come into being without human intervention. I shall argue that this difference does not signal any ontological deficiency in artifacts qua artifacts. After sketching my view of artifacts as ordinary objects, I’ll argue that ways of demarcating genuine substances do not draw a line with artifacts on one side and natural objects on the other. Finally, I’ll suggest that philosophers have downgraded artifacts because they (...) think of metaphysics as resting on a distinction between what is “mindindependent” and what is “mind dependent.” I’ll challenge the use of any such distinction as a foundation for metaphysics. (shrink)
Comparatively speaking, philosophy has not been especially long-winded in attempting to answer questions about what is funny and why we should think so. There is the standard debate of many centuries’ standing between superiority and incongruity accounts of humor, which for the most part attempt to identify the intentionalobjects of our amusement.1 There is the more recent debate about humor and morality, about whether jokes themselves may be regarded as immoral or about whether it can in certain (...) circumstances be wrong to laugh.2 There is even apparently some disagreement about whether amusement is an emotion proper or a different kind of psychological attitude altogether. While I have almost despite myself taken .. (shrink)
It is argued that Husserl was an “externalist” in at least one sense. For it is argued that Husserl held that genuinely perceptual experiences—that is to say, experiences that are of some real object in the world—differ intrinsically, essentially and as a kind from any hallucinatory experiences. There is, therefore, no neutral “content” that such perceptual experiences share with hallucinations, differing from them only over whether some additional non-psychological condition holds or not. In short, it is argued that Husserl was (...) a “disjunctivist”. In addition, it is argued that Husserl held that the individual object of any experience, perceptual or hallucinatory, is essential to and partly constitutive of that experience. The argument focuses on three aspects of Husserl’s thought: his account of intentionalobjects, his notion of horizon, and his account of reality. (shrink)