I develop several new arguments against claims about "cognitive phenomenology" and its alleged role in grounding thought content. My arguments concern "absent cognitive qualia cases" (independently discussed by Horgan here), "altered cognitive qualia cases", and "disembodied cognitive qualia cases". However, at the end, I sketch a positive theory of the role of phenomenology in grounding content, drawing on David Lewis's work on intentionality. I suggest that within Lewis's theory the subject's total evidence (not natuarlness) plays the central role in (...) fixing mental content and ruling out deviant interpretations (such as that described by Robbie Williams). However I point out a huge unnoticed problem, the problem of evidence: Lewis really has no theory of sensory content and hence no theory of what fixes evidence. I suggest a way of plugging this hole in Lewis's theory. On the resulting theory, which I call "phenomenal functionalism", there is a sense in which sensory phenomenology is the source of all determinate intentionality. Phenomenal functionalism has similarities to the theories of Chalmers and Schwitzgebel. (shrink)
John Searle's Speech Acts (1969) and Expression and Meaning (1979) developed a highly original and influential approach to the study of language. But behind both works lay the assumption that the philosophy of language is in the end a branch of the philosophy of the mind: speech acts are forms of human action and represent just one example of the mind's capacity to relate the human organism to the world. The present book is concerned with these biologically fundamental capacities, and, (...) though third in the sequence, in effect it provides the philosophical foundations for the other two. Intentionality is taken to be the crucial mental phenomenon, and its analysis involves wide-ranging discussions of perception, action, causation, meaning, and reference. In all these areas John Searle has original and stimulating views. He ends with a resolution of the 'mind-body' problem. (shrink)
‘It is of the very nature of consciousness to be intentional’ said Jean-Paul Sartre, ‘and a consciousness that ceases to be a consciousness of something would ipso facto cease to exist’.1 Sartre here endorses the central doctrine of Husserl’s phenomenology, itself inspired by a famous idea of Brentano’s: that intentionality, the mind’s ‘direction upon its objects’, is what is distinctive of mental phenomena. Brentano’s originality does not lie in pointing out the existence of intentionality, or in inventing the (...) terminology, which derives from scholastic discussions of concepts or intentiones.2 Rather, his originality consists in his claim that the concept of intentionality marks out the subject matter of psychology: the mental. His view was that intentionality ‘is characteristic exclusively of mental phenomena. No physical phenomenon manifests anything like it’.3 This is Brentano’s thesis that intentionality is the mark of the mental. Despite the centrality of the concept of intentionality in contemporary philosophy of mind, and despite the customary homage paid to Brentano as the one who revived the terminology and placed the concept at the centre of philosophy, Brentano’s thesis is widely rejected by contemporary philosophers of mind. What is more, its rejection is not something which is thought to require substantial philosophical argument. Rather, the falsity of the thesis is taken as a starting-point in many contemporary discussions of intentionality, something so obvious that it only needs to be stated to be recognised as true. Consider, for instance, these remarks from the opening pages of Searle’s Intentionality: Some, not all, mental states and events have Intentionality. Beliefs, fears, hopes and desires are Intentional; but there are forms of nervousness, elation and undirected anxiety that are not Intentional.... My beliefs and desires must always be about something. But my nervousness and undirected anxiety need not in that way be about anything.4 Searle takes this as obvious, so obvious that it is not in need of further argument or elucidation. (shrink)
One of the most enduring elements of Davidson’s legacy is the idea that intentionality is inherently normative. The normativity of intentionality means different things to different people and in different contexts, however. A subsidiary goal of this paper is to get clear on the sense in which Davidson means the thesis that intentionality is inherently normative. The central goal of the paper is to consider whether the thesis is true, in light of recent work on intentionality (...) that insists on an intimate connection between intentionality and phenomenal consciousness. According to several recent authors, there is a kind of intentionality – “phenomenal intentionality” – that is fully constituted by the phenomenal character of conscious experiences. I will argue that although Davidson’s thesis, when correctly understood, is compelling for most intentionality, it is false of phenomenal intentionality. I start, in §1, with an explication of the notion of phenomenal intentionality; in §2, I elucidate Davidson’s thesis and his case for it; in §3, I argue that the case does not extend to phenomenal intentionality; I close, in §4, with some objections and replies. (shrink)
Intentionality is usually defined as the directedness of the mind toward something other than itself. My desire for a cold beer is directed at the cold beer in front of me. Much of consciousness is intentional, my conscious experiences are usually directed at something. However, conscious experiences typically have a phenomenal character: there is something it is like for me to see the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean and to feel the warm water lapping over my feet, and (...) to smell the briny breeze. An important question to answer concerning the relationship between intentionality and consciousness is whether all conscious states are intentional? Another question concerns the explanatory priority of intentionality and phenomenal character: Can phenomenal character be explained in terms of intentionality? Or is it the case that intentionality should be understood in terms of phenomenology? Philosophers from the analytic, phenomenological, and naturalistic traditions have all made important contributions to our understanding of intentionality and consciousness. Some philosophers, such as Dretske, think that our phenomenology is intentionally structured. Others, such as Horgan and Tienson think that intentionality is fundamentally determined by our phenomenology. This looks like an impasse; however it may well be resolved by a combination of contemporary accounts of representation combined with an embodied phenomenology. (shrink)
Brentano was surely mistaken, however, in thinking that bearing a relation to something nonexistent marks only the mental. Given any sort of purpose, it might not get fulfilled, hence might exhibit Brentano's relation, and there are many natural purposes, such as the purpose of one's stomach to digest food or the purpose of one's protective eye blink reflex to keep out the sand, that are not mental, nor derived from anything mental. Nor are stomachs and reflexes "of" or"about" anything. A (...) reply might be, I suppose, that natural purposes are "purposes" only in an analogical sense hence "fail to be fulfilled" only in an analogical way. They bear an analogy to things that have been intentionally designed by purposive minds, hence can fail to accomplish the purposes they analogically have. As such they also have only analogical "intentionality". Such a response begs the question, however, for it assumes that natural purposes are not purposes in the full sense exactly because they are not. (shrink)
Schaffer (2010) argues that the internal relatedness of all things, no matter how it is conceived, entails priority monism. He claims that a sufficiently pervasive internal relation among objects implies the priority of the whole, understood as a concrete object. This paper shows that at least in the case of an internal relatedness of all things conceived in terms of physical intentionality - one way to understand dispositions - priority monism not only doesn't follow but also is precluded. We (...) conclude that the internal relatedness of all things is compatible with several different ontologies (including varieties of pluralism) but entails nothing concerning dependence between concrete objects. (shrink)
After a brief history of Brentano's thesis of intentionality, it is argued that intentionality presents a serious problem for materialism. First, it is shown that, if no general materialist analysis (or reduction) of intentionality is possible, then intentional phenomena would have in common at least one nonphysical property, namely, their intentionality. A general analysis of intentionality is then suggested. Finally, it is argued that any satisfactory general analysis of intentionality must share with this analysis (...) a feature which entails the existence of a nonphysical "level of organization". (shrink)
It is often assumed thatconsciousness and intentionality are twomutually independent aspects of mental life.When the assumption is denounced, it usuallygives way to the claim that consciousness issomehow dependent upon intentionality. Thepossibility that intentionality may bedependent upon consciousness is rarelyentertained. Recently, however, John Searle andColin McGinn have argued for just suchdependence. In this paper, I reconstruct andevaluate their argumentation. I am in sympathyboth with their view and with the lines ofargument they employ in its defense. UnlikeSearle and McGinn, (...) however, I am quite attachedto a naturalist approach to intentionality. Itwill turn out to be somewhat difficult toreconcile naturalism with the notion thatintentionality is dependent upon consciousness,although, perhaps surprisingly, I will arguethat McGinn's case for such dependence iscompatible with naturalism. (shrink)
Under the general heading of what we might loosely call emotional states, a familiar distinction can be drawn between emotions (strictly so-called) and moods. In order to judge under which of these headings a subject’s emotional episode falls, we advance a question of the form: What is the subject’s emotion of or about? In some cases (for example fear, sadness, and anger) the provision of an answer is straightforward: the subject is afraid of the loose tiger, or sad about England’s (...) poor performance in the World Cup, or angry with her errant child. Although the ways we find natural to talk in such situations can alter (afraid of, sad about, angry with, and so on), in each case the emotion has what Ronald de Sousa, following Wittgenstein, calls a target—“an actual particular to which that emotion relates.” (de Sousa, 1987, p.116). (shrink)
William James's theory of emotion is often criticized for placing too much emphasis on bodily feelings and neglecting the cognitive aspects of emotion. This paper suggests that such criticisms are misplaced. Interpreting James's account of emotion in the light of his later philosophical writings, I argue that James does not emphasize bodily feelings at the expense of cognition. Rather, his view is that bodily feelings are part of the structure of intentionality. In reconceptualizing the relationship between cognition and affect, (...) James rejects a number of commonplace assumptions concerning the nature of our cognitive relationship with the world, assumptions that many of his critics take for granted. (shrink)
In the first part, the paper describes in detail the classical conception of intentionality which was expounded in its most sophisticated form by Edmund Husserl. This conception is today largely eclipsed in the philosophy of mind by the functionalist and by the representationalist account of intentionality, the former adopted by Daniel Dennett and David Chalmers, the latter by John Searle and Fred Dretske. The very considerable differences between the classical and the modern conceptions are pointed out, and it (...) is argued that the classical conception is more satisfactory than the two modern ones, not only regarding phenomenal adequacy, but also on the grounds of epistemological considerations. In the second part, the paper argues that classical intentionality is not naturalizable, that is, physicalizable. Since classical intentionality exists (in the experiences that display it), the non-naturalizability of classical intentionality implies psychophysical dualism. (shrink)
I argue that Merleau-Ponty’s use of the case of Schneider in his arguments for the existence of non-conconceptual and non-representational motor intentionality contains a problematic methodological ambiguity. Motor intentionality is both to be revealed by its perspicuous preservation and by its contrastive impairment in one and the same case. To resolve the resulting contradiction I suggest we emphasize the second of Merleau-Ponty’s two lines of argument. I argue that this interpretation is the one in best accordance both with (...) Merleau-Ponty’s general methodology and with the empirical case of Schneider as it was described by Gelb and Goldstein. (shrink)
It is often taken for granted in standard theories of interpretation that there cannot be intentionality without rationality. According to the background argument, a system can be interpreted as having irrational beliefs only against a general background of rationality. Starting from the widespread assumption that delusions can be reasonably described as irrational beliefs, I argue here that the background argument fails to account for their intentional description.
The crucial point of the mind-body-problem appears to be that mental phenome- na (events, properties, states) seem to have features which at first sight make it impossible to integrate these phenomena into a naturalistic world view, i.e. to identify them with, or to reduce them to, physical phenomena.1 In the contemp- orary discussion, there are mainly two critical features which are important in this context. The first of these is the feature of intentional states, e.g. beliefs and desires, to have (...) a representational or semantic content. The problem of the naturalization of these states I will call the problem of intentionality. The second critical feature is the property of other mental states, e.g. perceptions and sensations, to have a qualitative aspect, i.e. that it is somehow, or feels in a characteristic way, to be in one of those states. The problem of the naturalization of these states is generally called the qualia-problem. (shrink)
David Lewis's account of intentionality is a version of what he calls 'global descriptivism'. The rough idea is that the correct interpretation of one's total theory is the one (among the admissible interpretations) that come closest to making it true. I give an exposition of this account, as I understand it, and try to bring out some of its consequences. I argue that there is a tension between Lewis's global descriptivism and his rejection of a linguistic account of the (...)intentionality of thought. I distinguish some different senses in which Lewis's theory might permit, or be committed to, a kind of holism about intentional content, and I consider the sense in which Lewis's account might be said to be an internalist account, and the motivation for this kind of internalism. (shrink)
This paper defends hedonic intentionalism, the view that all pleasures, including bodily pleasures, are directed towards objects distinct from themselves. Brentano is the leading proponent of this view. My goal here is to disentangle his significant proposals from the more disputable ones so as to arrive at a hopefully promising version of hedonic intentionalism. I mainly focus on bodily pleasures, which constitute the main troublemakers for hedonic intentionalism. Section 1 introduces the problem raised by bodily pleasures for hedonic intentionalism and (...) some of the main reactions to it. Sections 2 and 3 rebut two main approaches equating bodily pleasures with non- intentional episodes. More precisely, section 2 argues that bodily pleasures cannot be purely non-intentional self-conscious feelings, by relying on Brentano’s objection to Hamilton’s theory of pleasure. Section 3 argues that bodily pleasures cannot be non-intentional sensory qualities by relying on Brentano’s objections to Stumpf’s theory of pleasure. Section 4 develops a brentanian view of the intentionality of bodily pleasures by claiming bodily pleasures are directed at a sui generis class of sensory qualities. Section 5 presents an objection to Brentano’s later theory of pleasure according to which all sensory pleasures are directed at sensing acts. (shrink)
In my article I evaluate Searle's account of mental causation, in particular his account of the causal efficacy of unconscious intentional states. I argue that top-down causation and overdetermination are unsolved problems in Searle's philosophy of mind, despite his assurances to the contrary. I also argue that there are conflicting claims involved in his account of mental causation and his account of the unconscious. As a result, it becomes impossible to understand how unconscious intentional states can be causally efficacious. My (...) conclusion will be that if Searle's conception of unconscious intentionality is to play a genuine role in the causal explanation of human action, it needs to be rethought. (shrink)
The paper aims to clarify and scrutinize Searle"s somewhat puzzling statement that collective intentionality is a biologically primitive phenomenon. It is argued that the statement is not only meant to bring out that "collective intentionality" is not further analyzable in terms of individual intentionality. It also is meant to convey that we have a biologically evolved innate capacity for collective intentionality.The paper points out that Searle"s dedication to a strong notion of collective intentionality considerably delimits (...) the scope of his endeavor. Furthermore, evolutionary theory does not vindicate that an innate capacity for collective intentionality is a necessary precondition for cooperative behavior. 1. (shrink)
1. Introduction. The problems of other minds ; Body, mind and other minds ; The analogical theory ; The critical theory ; Functionalism and mental states as theoretical entities ; A brief outline of things to come -- 2. Functionalism and the nature of mental representations. Functionalism and cognitive psychology ; Folk psychology and the representational theory of mind -- 3. Theory theory and simulation theory. A very short introduction to the world of theory theory and simulation theory ; A (...) look at simulation theory ; A look at theory theory -- 4. Intentionality and the theory theory. The generic theory theory ; Cognitive and primordial intentionality ; Theory theorists and primordial intentionality ; Fodor's computational theory of primordial intentionality -- 5. The body schema. Historical notes on the notion of body schema ; An outline of a notion of body schema -- 6. On the notion of primordial intentionality. Concrete and abstracts movements ; Why primordial intentionality is not reducible to cognitive intentionality ; The intentionality of primordial intentionality -- 7. The irreducibility of primordial intentionality. The first argument against homuncular functionalism ; The second argument against homuncular functionalism -- 8. Transferring the body schema. Husserl's phenomenology of intersubjectivity ; Towards a primordial intentionality of intersubjectivity ; Some implications and a comparison to Husserl -- 9. Theory theory and simulation theory revisited. Attribution of primordial intentionality as cognitive simulation ; If homuncular functionalism were true ... ; Primordial intentionality and belief-desire psychology ; The theory of body schematic transfer and the simulation theory -- 10. Body schematic transfer and the conceptual problem of other minds. Strawson on the problem of other minds ; Disarming Strawson's objections ; Solving the conceptual problem -- 11. Concluding remarks -- Summary in Swedish -- References. (shrink)
This book argues that words and thoughts are typically about whatever they are about necessarily rather than contingently. The argument proceeds by articulating a requisite modal background and then bringing this background to bear on cognitive matters, notably the intentionality of cognitive episodes and states. The modal picture that emerges from the first two chapters is a strongly particularist one whereby possibilities reduce to possibilities for particular things (or pluralities thereof) where the latter are determined by the natures of (...) the particular things (or pluralities) involved. The next three chapters are devoted to the aboutness of referring terms in language and thought. The approach espoused is, again, strongly particularist in allotting explanatory priority to cognitive episodes and states regarding particular things (aka de re attitudes). (shrink)
Since the 1960's, work in the analytic tradition on the nature of mental and linguistic content has converged on the views that social facts about public language meaning are derived from facts about the thoughts of individuals, and that these thoughts are constituted by properties of the internal states of agents. I give a two-part argument against this picture of intentionality: first, that if mental content is prior to public language meaning, then a view of mental content much like (...) the causal-pragmatic theory presented by Robert Stalnaker in Inquiry must be correct; second, that the causal-pragmatic theory is false. I conclude with some positive suggestions regarding alternative solutions to the `problem of intentionality.'. (shrink)
The influence of Brentano on the emergence of Husserl's notion of intentionality has been usually perceived as the key of understanding the history of intentionality, since Brentano was credited with the discovery of intentionality, and Husserl was his discipline. This much debated question is to be revisited in the present essay by incorporating recent advances in Brentano scholarship and by focusing on Husserl's very first work, his habilitation essay (Über den Begriff der Zahl), which followed immediately after (...) his study years at Brentano, and also on manuscript notes from the same period. It is to be shown that (i) although Brentano failed to enact a direct influence on Husserl's notion of intentionality (much in line with K. Schuhmann's claim), (ii) yet the core of Brentano's notion remained operative in Husserl's theory of relations, which is seemingly influenced by John Stuart Mill and Hermann Lotze. This investigation is intended as a contribution towards the proper understanding of the complexities of Husserl's early philosophy. (shrink)
Intentionality, as Brentano originally introduced the term in modern philosophy, was meant to provide a distinctive characteristic definitively separating the mental from the physical.(1) Mental states have an intrinsic relationship to an object, to that which they are "about." Physical entities just are what they are, they cannot, by their very essence, refer to anything, they have no "outreach", as one might put it. Mental states have, as it were, an incomplete essence, they cannot exist at all unless they (...) are completed by something other than themselves, their object. Brentano's position is opposed to all theories which represent the mental as only extrinsically related to the world, that is, to all theories in which mental states are themselves self-sufficient for their own existence and only secondarily relate to the world by means of something external to their nature, e.g., neurological causation, divine intervention, or pre-established harmony. In these later cases, any mental act whatsoever could be related to any object, or indeed to none, for the relation is external to the nature of the act, it is superimposed on it by outside forces. Brentano's point is that a mental act has, by its very essence, an Intentional object without which it would not be a mental act. It would therefore appear that since causality is an external relationship which could in principle relate any two things regardless of their nature, the Intentional relation between an act and its object cannot be a causal relation. (shrink)
Haugeland doesn’t have what I would call a theory of mental representation. Indeed, it isn’t clear that he believes there is such a thing. But he does have a theory of intentionality and a correlative theory of objectivity, and it is this material that I will be discussing in what follows. It will facilitate the discussion that follows to have at hand some distinctions and accompanying terminology I introduced in Representations, Targets and Attitudes (Cummins, 1996; RTA hereafter). Couching the (...) discussion in these terms will, I hope, help to identify points of agreement and disagreement between Haugaland and myself. In RTA, I distinguished between the target a representation has on a given occasion of its application, and its content. RTA takes representation deployment to be the business of intenders: mechanisms whose business it is to represent some particular class of targets. Thus, on standard stories about speech perception, there is a mechanism (called a parser) whose business it is to represent the phrase structure of the linguistic input currently being processed. When this intender passes a representation R to the consumers of its products, those consumers will take R to be a representation of the phrase structure of the current input. There is no explicit vocabulary to mark the target-content distinction in ordinary language. Expressions like "what I referred to," "what I meant," and the like, are ambiguous. Sometimes they mean targets, sometimes contents. Consider the following dialogue. (shrink)
Theories of intentionality need to account for non-cognitive states like emotions as well as cognitive states like beliefs. When certain non-cognitive states are included, one can formulate a feasible physicalist account of intentionality that highlights its evolutionary roots. I argue that recent experimental data support just such a move.
Graham Priest presents a ground-breaking account of the semantics of intentional language--verbs such as "believes," "fears," "seeks," or "imagines." Towards Non-Being proceeds in terms of objects that may be either existent or non-existent, at worlds that may be either possible or impossible. The book will be of central interest to anyone who is concerned with intentionality in the philosophy of mind or philosophy of language, the metaphysics of existence and identity, the philosophy of fiction, the philosophy of mathematics, or (...) cognitive representation in AI. (shrink)
This article examines two empirical research traditions—experimental economics and the social identity approach in social psychology—that may be seen as attempts to falsify and verify the theory of collective intentionality, respectively. The article argues that both approaches fail to settle the issue. However, this is not necessarily due to the alleged immaturity of the social sciences but, possibly, to the philosophical nature of intentionality and intentional action. The article shows how broadly Davidsonian action theory, including Hacking’s notion of (...) the looping effect of the human sciences, can be developed into an argument for the view that there is no theory-independent true nature of intentional action. If the Davidsonian line of thought is correct, the theory of collective intentionality is, in a sense, true if we accept the theory. Key Words: collective intentionality • experimental economics • social identity theory • Donald Davidson • Ian Hacking • constructivism • action • agency • philosophy of the social sciences. (shrink)
One of the most influential arguments against the claim that computers can think is that while our intentionality is intrinsic, that of computers is derived: it is parasitic on the intentionality of the programmer who designed the computer-program. Daniel Dennett chose a surprising strategy for arguing against this asymmetry: instead of denying that the intentionality of computers is derived, he endeavours to argue that human intentionality is derived too. I intend to examine that biological plausibility of (...) Dennett’s suggestion and show that Dennett’s argument for the claim that human intentionality is derived because it was designed by natural selection is based on the misunderstanding of how natural selection works. (shrink)
To the memory of Ian McFetridge 1948?1988 The general concern of the essay is with the question of whether cognitive states can be accounted for in naturalistic (i.e. physicalist) terms. An argument is presented to the effect that they cannot. This turns on the idea that cognitive states involve modes of presentation the identity and individuation conditions of which are ineliminably both intentional and intensional and consequently they cannot be accounted for in terms of physico?causal powers. In connection with this (...) the recent attempt by Robert Stalnaker to provide a naturalistic theory of intentionality is examined and rejected. In conclusion it is suggested that a more radical solution to the problem of how to relate cognitive and material phenomena may be available in the pluralistic naturalism of Aquinas (and, perhaps, Wittgenstein). (shrink)
Exploring intentionality from an externalist per- spective, I distinguish three kinds of intentionality in the case of seeing, which I call transparent, translucent, and opaque respec- tively. I then extend the distinction from seeing to knowing, and then to believing. Having explicated the three-fold distinction, I then critically explore some important consequences that follow from granting that (i) there are transparent and translucent in- tentional states and (ii) these intentional states are mental states. These consequences include: ?rst, that (...) existential opacity is neither the mark of intentionality nor of the mental; second, that Sellars has not shown that all intentionality is non-relational; third, that a key Quinean argument for semantic indeterminacy rests on a false premise; fourth, that perceptual experience is intentional on Alston. (shrink)
In philosophy the term intentionality refers to the feature possessed by mental states of beingabout things others than themselves. A serious question has been how to explain the intentionality of mental states. This paper starts with linguistic representations, and explores how an organism might use linguistic symbols to represent other things. Two research projects of Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, one explicity teaching twopan troglodytes to use lexigrams intentionally, and the other exploring the ability of several members ofpan paniscus to learn (...) lexigram use and comprehension of English speech spontaneously when raised in an appropriate environment, are examined to explore the acquisition process. Although it is controversial whether intentionality of mental states or linguistic symbols is primary, it is argued that the intentionality of linguistic symbols is primary and that studying how organisms learn to use linguistic symbols provides an avenue to understanding how intentionality is acquired by cognitive systems. (shrink)
According to a common philosophical distinction, the `original' intentionality, or `aboutness' possessed by our thoughts, beliefs and desires, is categorically different from the `derived' intentionality manifested in some of our artifacts –- our words, books and pictures, for example. Those making the distinction claim that the intentionality of our artifacts is `parasitic' on the `genuine' intentionality to be found in members of the former class of things. In Kinds of Minds: Toward an Understanding of Consciousness, Daniel (...) Dennett criticizes that claim and the distinction it rests on, and seeks to show that ``metaphysically original intentionality'' is illusory by working out the implications he sees in the practical possibility of a certain type of robot, i.e., one that generates `utterances' which are `inscrutable to the robot's designers' so that we, and they, must consult the robot to discover the meaning of its utterances. I argue that the implications Dennett finds are erroneous, regardless of whether such a robot is possible, and therefore that the real existence of metaphysically original intentionality has not been undermined by the possibility of the robot Dennett describes. (shrink)
Approach to Intentionality is an authoritative and accessible account of a problem central to contemporary philosopy of mind. Lyons first gives a critical survey of the current debate about the nature of intentionality, then moves on to offer an original new theory. The book is written throughout in a clear, direct, and lively style.
In this essay I defend both the individual plausibility and conjoint consistency of two theses. One is the Intentionality Thesis: that all mental states are intentional (object-directed, exhibit ‘aboutness’). The other is the Self-Awareness Thesis: that if a subject is aware of an object, then the subject is also aware of being aware of that object. I begin by arguing for the individual prima facie plausibility of both theses. I then go on to consider a regress argument to the (...) effect that the two theses are incompatible. I discuss three responses to that argument, and defend one of them. (shrink)
What is the relation between computation and intennonality? Cognition presup- poses intentionality (or semantics). This much is certain. So, if, according to com- putationalism, cognition is computation, then computation, mo, presupposes..
Can an event’s blameworthiness distort whether people see it as intentional? In controversial recent studies, people judged a behavior’s negative side effect intentional even though the agent allegedly had no desire for it to occur. Such a judgment contradicts the standard assumption that desire is a necessary condition of intentionality, and it raises concerns about assessments of intentionality in legal settings. Six studies examined whether blameworthy events distort intentionality judgments. Studies 1 through 4 show that, counter to (...) recent claims, intentionality judgments are systematically guided by variations in the agent’s desire, for moral and nonmoral actions alike. Studies 5 and 6 show that a behavior’s negative side effects are rarely seen as intentional once people are allowed to choose from multiple descriptions of the behavior. Specifically, people distinguish between “knowingly” and “intentionally” bringing about a side effect, even for immoral actions. These studies suggest that intentionality judgments are unaffected by a behavior’s blameworthiness. (shrink)
William James presents a preference-sensitive and future-directed notion of truth that has struck many as wildly revisionary. This paper argues that such a reaction usually results from failing to see how his accounts of truth and intentionality are intertwined. James' forward-looking account of intentionality (or "knowing") compares favorably the 'causal' and 'resemblance-driven' accounts that have been popular since his day, and it is only when his remarks about truth are placed in the context of his account of (...) class='Hi'>intentionality that they come to seem as plausible as they manifestly did to James. (shrink)
Between 1927 and 1936, Martin Heidegger devoted almost one thousand pages of close textual commentary to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. This article aims to shed new light on the relationship between Kant and Heidegger by providing a fresh analysis of two central texts: Heidegger’s 1927/8 lecture course Phenomenological Interpretation of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and his 1929 monograph Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. I argue that to make sense of Heidegger’s reading of Kant, one must resolve two (...) questions. First, how does Heidegger’s Kant understand the concept of the transcendental? Second, what role does the concept of a horizon play in Heidegger’s reconstruction of the Critique? I answer the first question by drawing on Cassam’s model of a self-directed transcendental argument, and the second by examining the relationship between Kant’s doctrine that ‘pure, general logic’ abstracts from all semantic content and Hume’s attack on metaphysics. I close by sketching the implications of my results for Heidegger’s own thought. Ultimately, I conclude that Heidegger’s commentary on the Critical system is defined, above all, by a single issue: the nature of the ‘form’ of intentionality. (shrink)
Searle’s celebrated Chinese room thought experiment was devised as an attempted refutation of the view that appropriately programmed digital computers literally are the possessors of genuine mental states. A standard reply to Searle, known as the “robot reply” (which, I argue, reflects the dominant approach to the problem of content in contemporary philosophy of mind), consists of the claim that the problem he raises can be solved by supplementing the computational device with some “appropriate” environmental hookups. I argue that not (...) only does Searle himself casts doubt on the adequacy of this idea by applying to it a slightly revised version of his original argument, but that the weakness of this encoding-based approach to the problem of intentionality can also be exposed from a somewhat different angle. Capitalizing on the work of several authors and, in particular, on that of psychologist Mark Bickhard, I argue that the existence of symbol-world correspondence is not a property that the cognitive system itself can appreciate, from its own perspective, by interacting with the symbol and therefore, not a property that can constitute intrinsic content. The foundational crisis to which Searle alluded is, I conclude, very much alive. (shrink)
The present volume has grown out of a conference organized jointly by the History of Philosophy Department of the University of Miskolc and the History and Philosophy of Science Department of Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest), which took place in June 2002. The aim of the conference was to explore the various angles from which intentionality can be studied, how it is related to other philosophical issues, and how it figures in the works of major philosophers in the past. It (...) also aimed at facilitating the interaction between the analytic and phenomenological traditions, which both regard intentionality as one of the most important problems for philosophy. Indeed intentionality has sometimes provided inspiration for works bridging the gap between the two traditions, like Roderick Chisholm’s in the sixties and Dagfin Føllesdall’s and his students’ in the early eighties. These objectives were also instrumental in the selection of the papers for this volume. Instead of very specialized papers on narrow issues, we gave preference to papers with a broader focus, which (1) juxtapose different approaches and traditions or (2) link the issues of intentionality with other philosophical concerns. (shrink)
Certain philosophers have held the thesis of the unity of science. As often conceived, the thesis has two parts: the thesis of physicalism and the thesis of extensionality. For each of these two parts there is an outstanding problem, i.e. the problem of intentionality and the problem of intensionality respectively. The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to make explicit the nature of these two problems, and second, to show to what extent they can be said to be (...) the same problem. Thus I am not at all interested here either to defend or attack this thesis or either of its parts. (shrink)
This article is the sequel to 'Intentionality and Modern philosophical psychology, I. The modern reduction of intentionality,' (Philosophical Psychology, 3 (2), 1990) which examined the view of intentionality pioneered by Carnap and reaching its apotheosis in the work of Daniel Dennett. In 'Intentionality and modem philosophical psychology, II. The return to representation' (Philosophical Psychology, 4(1), 1991) I examined the approach to intentionality which can be traced back to the work of Noam Chomsky but which has (...) been given its canonical treatment in the work of Jerry Fodor. In this article, the last in the series, I explore a very recent approach to intentionality which has been associated especially with the work of Ruth Garrett Millikan and Colin McGinn, and might, if the phrase were not so rebarbative, be called “the biologizing of intentionality'. (shrink)
Intentionality is characteristic of many psychological phenomena. It is commonly held by philosophers that intentionality cannot be ascribed to purely physical systems. This view does not merely deny that psychological language can be reduced to physiological language. It also claims that the appropriateness of some psychological explanation excludes the possibility of any underlying physiological or causal account adequate to explain intentional behavior. This is a thesis which I do not accept. I shall argue that physical systems of a (...) specific sort will show the characteristic features of intentionality. Psychological subjects are, under an alternative description, purely physical systems of a certain sort. The intentional description and the physical description are logically distinct, and are not intertranslatable. Nevertheless, the features of intentionality may be explained by a purely causal account, in the sense that they may be shown to be totally dependent upon physical processes. (shrink)
In rounded terms and modem dress a theory of intentionality is a theory about how humans take in information via the senses and in the very process of taking it in understand it and, most often, make subsequent use of it in guiding human behaviour. The problem of intentionality in this century has been the problem of providing an adequate explanation of how a purely physical causal system, the brain, can both receive information and at the same time (...) understand it, that is, to put it even more briefly, how a brain can have semantic content. In these two articles, one in this issue of the journal and one in the next, I engage in a critical examination of the two most thoroughly canvassed approaches to the theory and problem of intentionality in philosophical psychology over the last hundred years. In the first article, entitled 'The modern reduction of intentionality, ' I examine the approach pioneered by Carnap and reaching its apotheosis in the work of Daniel Dennett. In the second article, entitled 'The return to representation, 'I examine the approach which can be traced back to the work of Noam Chomsky but which has been given its canonical treatment in the work of Jerry Fodor. (shrink)
Phenomenologists such as Merleau?Ponty have argued that the ordinary teleological relation between an embodied agent and the world is neither ?subjective? nor ?cognitive?, i.e. that it is not normally mediated by a chain of explicit cognition occurring within a distinct mental subject. Yet, while this seems true from a first?person, phenomenological perspective, I argue that teleological forms of explanation require the ascription of Intentional states. Intentional states, however, are usually regarded as subjective, cognitive states. In order to reconcile the phenomenology (...) with the logic of teleology, I introduce the notion of ?body?intentionality?. I maintain that we can use a modified version of Jonathan Bennett's concept of a teleological law to specify third?person empirical criteria for a pre?cognitive, pre?subjective kind of Intentionality. I also argue that this notion of body?intentionality provides us with at least a partial solution to the mind?body problem that avoids the inadequacies of the computational theory of mind. (shrink)
Like everyone with a scientific bent of mind, Dennett thinks our capacity for meaningful language and states of mind is the product of evolution (Dennett [1987, ch. VIII]). But unlike many of this bent, he sees virtue in viewing evolution itself from the intentional stance. From this stance, ?Mother Nature?, or the process of evolution by natural selection, bestows intentionality upon us, hence we are not Unmeant Meaners. Thus, our intentionality is extrinsic, and Dennett dismisses the theories of (...) meaning of Dretske, Fodor, Burge, Putnam, and Kripke on the grounds that each requires that our mental states, unlike those of artifacts, have meaning intrinsically. I argue that we are Unmeant Meaners, incidentally defending Dretske et al., though my goal is to test the explanatory virtue of the intentional stance as applied to the evolution of intentionality. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore one particular dimension of Brentano’s legacy, namely, his theory of mental analysis. This theory has received much less attention in recent literature than the intentionality thesis or the theory of inner perception. However, I argue that it provides us with substantive resources in order to conceptualize the unity of intentionality and phenomenality. My proposal is to think of the connection between intentionality and phenomenality as a certain combination of part/whole relations rather than (...) as a supervenience or identity relation. To begin, I discuss some reasons for being a (neo-)Brentanian about the mind and briefly introduce the main characteristics of Brentano’s internalist description program. Then, I turn to the current “inseparatist” way of dealing with intentionality and phenomenality, focusing on the demand for unity coming from advocates of phenomenal intentionality. I suggest that the unity of the mind may be put in a new light if we put aside metaphysical–epistemological questions, go back to Brentano’s description program, and endorse his thesis that the mental is something unified in which various parts must be distinguished. In the last section, I draw some lessons from this approach, holding that, for any representational content R, R is (in Brentano’s terms) an abstractive or “distinctional” part of the relevant state and that, for any qualitative aspect Q, Q is an abstractive or “distinctional” part of the relevant representational content R. (shrink)
There are important structural similarities in the way that animals and humans engage in unreflective activities, including unreflective social interactions in the case of higher animals. Firstly, it is a form of unreflective embodied intelligence that is ‘motivated’ by the situation. Secondly, both humans and non-human animals are responsive to ‘affordances’ (Gibson 1979); to possibilities for action offered by an environment. Thirdly, both humans and animals are selectively responsive to one affordance rather than another. Social affordances are a subcategory of (...) affordances, namely possibilities for social interaction offered by an environment: a friend’s sad face invites comforting behavior, a person waiting for a coffee machine can afford a conversation, and an extended hand affords a handshake. I will review recent insights in the nature of the bodily intentionality characteristic of unreflective action. Such ‘motor intentionality’ can be characterized as “our direct bodily inclination to act in a situated, environmental context” (Kelly 2005, p. 106). Standard interpretations of bodily intentionality see grasping an object as the paradigmatic example of motor intentionality. I will discuss the implications of another, novel perspective that emphasizes the importance of unreflective switches from one activity to another (Rietveld 2004) and understands bodily intentionality in terms of adequate responsiveness to a field of relevant affordances. In the final section I will discuss some implications for cognitive neuroscientists who use empirical findings related to the ‘mirror neuron system’ as a starting point for a theory of motor intentionality and social cognition. (shrink)
The apparent incompatibility of mental states with physical explanations has long been a concern of philosophers of psychology. This incompatibility is thought to arise from the intentionality of mental states. But, Brentano notwithstanding, intentionality is an ordinary feature of higher order behavior patterns in the classical literature of ethology.
Five mental components of human intentionality are distinguished and related to different properties of mammalian orientation. It is proposed that, in the course of evolution, these old properties became integrated and thereby allowed for the development of a new quality: human orientation. The existence of more than 4,000 mammal species with their various forms and levels of mental organization, offering a panorama of different combinations of differently developed components of mentality, provide ample opportunities for comparative studies. The difficulties in (...) assessing specific types are outlined, drawing on over 40 years of observation. Based on this knowledge, an argument is made for the importance of staying in contact with the empirical objects and of considering their ontological status when rising the standards of precision of formal analysis. (shrink)
Phenomenology and experimental psychology have been largely interested in the same thing when it comes to attention. By building on the work of Aron Gurwitsch, especially his ideas of attention and restructuration, this paper attempts to articulate common ground in psychology and phenomenology of attention through discussion of a new way to think about multistability in some phenomena. What psychology views as an attentionality-intentionality phenomenon, phenomenology views as an intentionality-attentionality phenomenon. The proposal is that an awareness of this (...) restructuring of attentionality and intentionality can benefit both approaches to attention. After reviewing Husserl’s position on attentionality and intentionality, this paper examines multistable phenomena, redefines the attentional transformation called restructuring, discusses disciplinary perspectives on attention and gives an example using common ground. (shrink)
This essay asks whether there is a relation between action-serving and meaning-serving intentions. The idea that the intentions involved in meaning and action are nominally designated alike as intentionalities does not guarantee any special logical or conceptual connections between the intentionality of referential thoughts and thought-expressive speech acts with the intentionality of doing. The latter category is typified by overt physical actions in order to communicate by engaging in speech acts, but also includes at the origin of all (...) artistic and symbolic expression such cerebral and linguistic doings as thinking propositional thoughts. There are exactly four possibilities by which meaning and action intentionalities might be related to be systematically investigated. Meaning-serving and action-serving intentionalities, topologically speaking, might exclude one another, partially overlap with one another, or subsume one in the other or the other in the one. The theoretical separation of the two ostensible categories of intendings is criticized, as is their partial overlap, in light of the proposal that thinking and artistic and symbolic expression are activities that favor the inclusion of paradigm meaning-serving intentions as among a larger domain of action-serving intentions. The only remaining alternative is then developed, of including action-serving intentions reductively in meaning-serving intentions, and is defended as offering in an unexpected way the most cogent universal reductive ontology in which the intentionality of doing generally relates to the specific intentionality of referring in thought to the objects of predications, and of its artistic and symbolic expression. (shrink)
I investigate collective intentionality (CI) through the “Ought” implies “Can” (OIC) principle. My leading question is does OIC impose any further requirement on CI? In answering the challenge inside a Searlean framework, I realize that we need to clarify what CI's structure is and what kind of role the agents joining a CI-act have. In the last part of the paper, I put forward an (inverted) Hartian framework to allow the Searlean CI theory to be agent sensitive and cope (...) with the problems that emerged. (shrink)
How can philosophy or science claim to discover objective truth when their arguments originate from subjective beings? In Intentionality and Semiotics , John Deely offers a controversial solution to the problem of subjectivity in inquiry. He creates an interface between semiotics and the concept of intentionality, as it appears in Aquinas’s work, to demonstrate that every sign is irrevocably linked to the reality of relations. In the process, Deely builds a bridge between classical thinkers such as Aristotle and (...) modernists such as Heidegger and Peirce in this innovative volume. (shrink)
The intent of the article is to define merleau-ponty's place in the phenomenological tradition and, at the same time, to defend his standpoint, especially on those issues where his thought represents a departure from the tradition. although merleau-ponty espouses a form of the husserlian doctrine of the intentionality of consciousness, his understanding of intentionality differs in several fundamental respects from husserl's. the article attempts to show specifically where merleau-ponty's gestalt- theoretical orientation leads him to modify such basic aspects (...) of husserl's concept of intentionality as the noesis-noema distinction and the claim for atemporality of meaning. a critical comparison is drawn between merleau- ponty's concept of intentionality and that of aron gurwitsch. in a more positive vein, the article provides an extended exegesis of merleau-ponty's position on this central concept in phenomenology, and it also tries to relate the exposition of intentionality to merleau-ponty's thesis of the primacy of perception. finally, an attempt is made to reveal the ontological ramifications implicit in merleau-ponty's revisions to the doctrine of intentionality. (edited). (shrink)
This essay is a critical examination of how Edmund Husserl, in his appropriation of Franz Brentano’s concept of intentionality into his phenomenology, deals with the very issues that shaped Brentano’s theory of intentionality. These issues concern the proper criterion for distinguishing mental from physical phenomena and the right explanation for the independence of the intentionality of mental phenomena from the existence or non-existence of their objects. Husserl disagrees with Brentano’s views that intentionality is the distinguishing feature (...) of all mental phenomena and that the mental status of intentional objects is what explains the said independence. The crucial concept in Husserl’s theory of intentionality is the noema of consciousness, which functions in the same way as Gottlob Frege’s sense in his theory of semantics. This essay argues that Husserl’s alternative solutions to the problems of Brentano run in conflict either with the desired rigor of his phenomenology or with the actual workings of language. (shrink)
Chisholm, R. M. Sentences about believing.--Cornman, J. W. Intentionality and intensionality.--Marras, A. Intentionality and cognitive sentences.--Chisholm, R. M. Notes on the logic of believing.--Luce, D. R., Sleigh, R. C., and Chisholm, R. M. Discussion on "Notes on the logic of believing."--Lycan, W. G. On intentionality and the psychological.--Hempel, C. G. Logical analysis of psychology.--Carnap, R. Logical foundations of the unity of science.--Nagel, T. Physicalism.--Ryle, G. Dispositions.--Sellars, W. Empiricism and the philosophy of mind.--Chisholm, R. M. and Sellars, W. (...) The Chisholm-Sellars correspondence on intentionality.--Aune, B. Thinking.--Bergmann, G. Intentionality.--Sellars, W. Notes on intentionality.--Frege, G. On sense and nominatum.--Russell, B. On denoting.--Carnap, R. The analysis of belief sentences.--Putnam, H. Synonymity, and the analysis of belief sentences.--Quine, W. V. O. Quantifiers and propositional attitudes.--Linsky, L. Substitutivity and descriptions.--Hintikka, J. Semantics for propositional attitudes.--Rosenthal, D. M. and Sellars, W. The Rosenthal-Sellars correspondence on intentionality.--Bibliography (p. 505-523). (shrink)
An instance of retrowareness is a veridical nonperceptual occurrent awareness of something about a particular past event or state of affairs. Accordingly, this occurrence is intentional, or exemplifies the property of intentionality, in the sense that it is as though it were about something in contrast to other equally intentional mental occurrences that only seem to be about something. That a retrowareness has intentionality must be explained in terms of its own content and structure, rather than in terms (...) of its success in being about an actual past state of affairs or event. Such an explanation will help explain (a) how a retrowareness succeeds in being about its intentional object and (b) how mental occurrences lacking an intentional object may possess an intentional character. (shrink)
Representationalists argue that phenomenal states are intentional states of a special kind. This paper offers an account of the kind of intentional state phenomenal states are: I argue that they are underived intentional states. This account of phenomenal states is equivalent to two theses: first, all possible phenomenal states are underived intentional states; second, all possible underived intentional states are phenomenal states. I clarify these claims and argue for each of them. I also address objections which touch on a range (...) of topics, including meaning holism and concept empiricism. I conclude with a brief discussion of the consequences of the proposed view for the project of naturalizing consciousness. (shrink)
We review some of the work already done around the notion of phenomenal intentionality and propose a way of turning this body of work into a self-conscious research program for understanding intentionality.
In Context and Content Robert Stalnaker develops a philosophical picture of the nature of speech and thought and the relations between them. These collected essays offer philosophers and cognitive scientists a summation of Stalnaker's important and influential work in this area. His new introduction to the volume gives an overview of this work and offers a convenient way in for those who are new to it.
The purpose of this essay is to determine how we should construe the content of memories or, in other words, to determine what the intentional objects of memory are.1 The issue that will concern us is, then, analogous to the traditional philosophical question of whether perception directly puts us in cognitive contact with entities in the world or with entities in our own minds. As we shall see, there are some interesting aspects of the phenomenology and the epistemology of memory, (...) and I shall aim at a specification of the content of memories that is in accordance with those aspects of them. (shrink)
Thomas Reid’s epistemological ambitions are decisively at the center of his work. However, if we take such ambitions to be the whole story, we are apt to overlook the theory of mind that Reid develops and deploys against the theory of ideas. Reid’s philosophy of mind is sophisticated and strikingly contemporary, and has, until recently, been lost in the shadow of his other philosophical accomplishments. Here I survey some aspects of Reid’s theory of mind that I find most interesting. I (...) examine whether Reid is a mysterian about the mind, whether Reid has a direct realist theory of perception, and whether Reid has a higher-order, or “inner-sense,” view of consciousness. Along the way I will mention portions of the secondary literature that examine these aspects and point out whether and to what degree I part ways with the interpretations present in the literature. (shrink)
Davidson has attempted to integrate externalism into his account of meaning and understanding. He contends that what words mean is fixed in part by the circumstances in which they were learnt, in which the basic connection between words and things is established. This connection is allegedly established by causal interaction between people and the world. Words and sentences derive their meanings from the objects and circumstances in which they were learnt, which.
Theories of content purport to explain, among other things, in virtue of what beliefs have the truth conditions they do have. The desire for such a theory has many sources, but prominent among them are two puzzling (and related) facts that are notoriously difficult to explain: beliefs can be false, and there are normative constraints on the formation of beliefs.2 If we knew in virtue of what beliefs had truth conditions, we would be better positioned to explain how it is (...) possible for an agent to believe that which is not the case. Moreover, we do not say merely of such an agent that he believes that p when p is not the case. We say the agent made a mistake, and often criticize him accordingly; we think agents ought not have false beliefs, and that such beliefs should be changed; etc. An adequate theory of content would, presumably, reveal the source of these normative facts about the mental lives of agents. Indeed, it is typically taken to be an adequacy constraint on a theory of content that it help explain the possibility of error and the "normativity" of content. Teleological theories of content promise to do just this. (shrink)