19th Century Philosophy > 19th Century Austrian Philosophy > Franz Brentano > Brentano: Intentionality
Edited by Uriah Kriegel (Institut Jean Nicod)
|Summary||Brentano introduces the notion of intentionality in Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint, and claims that it is the mark of the mental (in the sense that all and only mental phenomena are intentional); he offers important clarifications in the first appendix to this book published 37 years later in 1911. Scholars have debated whether Brentano changed his view on the nature of intentionality in the interval. It is natural to interpret the earlier passage as implying that intentionality is a relation between mental acts and immanent objects that exist only in the subject's mind; and to interpret the later passage as implying that intentionality is not a relation at all. More recently, however, these interpretations have been contested, with some suggesting that for Brentano intentional objects were always meant to be external and some claiming that Brentano foreshadows the accounts of intentionality as a three-place relation between an act, a content, and an object. More recently, there has also been an interest in whether Brentano's conception of intentionality foreshadowed work on so-called phenomenal intentionality. Other debates also concern the nature and plausibility of Brentano's claim that intentionality is the mark of the mental.|
|Key works||Brentano introduces the notion of intentionality in Chapter 1 of Book II of Brentano 1874; his 1911 appendix on the notion is important (included in the same English edition). From Brentano, the notion propagated into all branches of the Brentano School, but most prominently through the phenomenological movement (see especially Husserl 2012). Other important contributions by Brentano's students include Twardowski 1977 and Meinong 1960. The notion is brought into analytic philosophy and regimented by Chisholm in Chisholm 1957, and later becomes central to philosophy of mind (see, e.g., Searle 1983). For an interpretation of Brentanian intentionality as a relation to immanent objects, see Brandl 2005; for an interpretation of it as not really a relation, see Chisholm 1989 (and, relatedly, Crane 2006). For a recent discussion of its connection to the notion of phenomenal intentionality, see Dewalque 2013. For discussion of Brentano's claim that intentionality is the mark of the mental, see Crane 1998 and Kriegel 2017.|
|Introductions||A seminal presentation, and regimentation, of Brentano's notion of intentionality is offered in Chisholm 1957. Recent partially expository discussions are in Jacquette 2004 and Brandl 2005. A useful historical introduction to the propagation of the notion of intentionality through the Brentano School is offered in Kriegel 2013.|
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