The Concept of Intentionality in the Work of Brentano, Frege and Husserl

Dissertation, Brown University (1984)

This thesis traces the development of philosophical work on the problem of intentionality in the writings of Brentano, Frege, Husserl, and Heidegger. It is primarily a historical study that seeks to spell out the various theories on the question of intentionality that led up to the current interest in the problem in the Analytic tradition, and to the perspective taken on intentionality in the post-Husserlian existential development of Phenomenology. ;In the course of this history, a general introduction to Phenomenology has been provided, as Husserl's theories in Logical Investigations and Ideas are the main focus of the thesis. Similarities between Husserl's work and that of the analytic philosophers Searle and Chisholm are discussed, as one of the intentions of the thesis is to show the relevance of Husserl in Phenomenology to contemporary Analytic philosophy in the area of intentionality. A chapter on existential phenomenology seeks to explain this school of thought to an Analytic audience and to show why it has turned away from the project of formulating a theory of intentionality because of its new conception of the nature of mind and mental relatedness. The conclusion points to a difficulty in Husserl's theory insofar as it appears to straddle the fence between the rival theses of the primacy of the intentional and the primacy of the semantic, and raises doubts about the possibility of a truly explanatory theory of how mental reference is accomplished
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