Response to Christopher Tomaszewski’s “Intentionality as Partial Identity”

Southwest Philosophy Review 33 (2):1-13 (2017)
Authors
Klaus Ladstaetter
State University of New York (SUNY)
Abstract
Intentionality is a curious notion and so is partial identity; the latter is employed by Christopher Tomaszewski (henceforth, CT) in his paper to afford solutions to a wide array of different philosophical problems. The author’s central thesis is that intentionality is a kind of partial identity; i.e. when the mind is intentionally directed towards an external object, it "takes in" a part of the object – its form, but not its matter. In my essay I first expound Franz Brentano's views on intentionality - inspired by Aristotle's doctrine of hylomorphism. Contrary to what CT suggests, I conclude (in light of Brentano's later work) that intentionality should not be characterized as a genuine relation since one can be intentionally directed towards existing as well as non-existing objects and since, in the case of the latter, it remains unclear what it is that the mind “takes in”. Second, I clarify the notion of partial identity. In this context it is not obvious to me what exactly CT's appeal to partial identity contributes to the solution of the problem of material constitution. Third, I explicate CT's thesis that intentionality is partial identity (based on previously given definitions) and conclude that his argument in support of mind/body-dualism fails. Overall, skepticism remains as to whether partial identity adequately captures the tricky terrain of intentionality.
Keywords intentionality  partial identity  mental in-existence  hylomorphism  material constitution  mereology  mind/body-dualism
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ISBN(s) 0897-2346
DOI 10.5840/swphilreview201733223
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