A modal analysis of phenomenal intentionality: horizonality and object-directed phenomenal presence

Synthese 198 (11):10903-10922 (2020)

Abstract

In this article I argue that phenomenal intentionality fundamentally consists in a horizonality structure, rather than in a relation to a representational content or the determination of accuracy conditions. I provide a distinctive modal model of intentionality that conceives of phenomenal intentionality as the enjoyment of a plus ultra that points beyond what is actual. The directedness of intentionality on the world, thus, consists in “pointing ahead” to possibilities. The principal difficulty for the modal model is logical: the most obvious way of implementing such a structure results in an analogue of Russell’s paradox. However, this paradox can be avoided by fine-tuning the modal logic deployed in this setting. This way of fine-tuning the logic ultimately amounts to intuitive benefits. For, it captures the intensional character of intentionality, since the way that our mental states refer to things is conception-dependent. Moreover, the way I interpret the modal model leads to a conception of intentionality as a feature of dynamic, diachronic patterns in the way that mental acts subjectively appear, rather than as a synchronic property. We ought to think of intentionality as fundamentally a temporal, subjective determination. In a generalization on Sellars’ approach to concepts, I hold that phenomenally intentional mental presentations involve modal laws and are inconceivable without them.

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Kyle Banick
University of California, Irvine (PhD)

References found in this work

The Modularity of Mind.Robert Cummins & Jerry Fodor - 1983 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):101.
Knowledge and the Flow of Information.F. Dretske - 1989 - Trans/Form/Ação 12:133-139.

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