Is there introspective evidence for phenomenal intentionality?

Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1105-1126 (2017)
Authors
Davide Bordini
University of Liège
Abstract
The so-called transparency of experience (TE) is the intuition that, in introspecting one’s own experience, one is only aware of certain properties (like colors, shapes, etc.) as features of (apparently) mind-independent objects. TE is quite popular among philosophers of mind and has traditionally been used to motivate Representationalism, i.e., the view that phenomenal character is in some strong way dependent on intentionality. However, more recently, others have appealed to TE to go the opposite way and support the phenomenal intentionality view (PIV), according to which intentionality is in some strong way dependent on phenomenal character. If this line of argument succeeds, then not only TE does not speak in favor of Representationalism, but it actually speaks against it, contrary to the philosophical common-sense of the last two decades. Moreover, the representationalist project of naturalizing phenomenal character turns out to be seriously undermined on the same intuitive grounds that were supposed to make it plausible. In this paper, I reconstruct and discuss the line of argument from TE to PIV and argue that our introspective intuitions (TE) do not push us in the direction of PIV. On the contrary, the line of argument from TE to PIV is (at best) simply too weak to force us to conclude that intentionality depends on phenomenal character in the sense required for PIV to be true.
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-016-0745-9
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