An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind

Within the orthodox paradigm in the philosophy of mind and languageof the 1960's and 1970's, there was an important swing of the pendulumaway from the implications of Frege's and especially Russell'sdoctrines for intentionality. The so-called “theory of directreference” has contributed to rehabilitate the view thatconcrete individuals matter more to the identity of the singularthoughts that humans entertain than the Frege/Russell doctrinesallow. According to Frege's distinction between sense and reference,what matters to the identity of a thought about a concrete individualis not the individual thought about but the abstract sense by means ofwhich he is thought about. According to Russell, most thoughts thatseem prima facie to be about concrete individuals are in fact notsingular thoughts but generally quantified propositions. Much of theimpetus for the theory of direct reference came from the implicationsof the semantics of modal logic for the intentionality of singularthoughts and beliefs.

Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind by John R

Intentionality, an essay in the philosophy of mind

Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind [John R

Replete as they are with complex, abstract and controversial ideas,these two short paragraphs have set the agenda for all subsequentphilosophical discussions of intentionality in the late nineteenth andthe twentieth century. There has been some discussion over the meaningof Brentano's expression ‘intentional inexistence.’ DidBrentano mean that the objects onto which the mind is directed areinternal to the mind itself (in-exist in the mind)?Or did he mean that the mind can be directed ontonon-existent objects? Or did he mean both? (See Crane, 1998for further discussion.)

Intentionality An Essay In The Philosophy Of Mind 1983

Now the following questions arise: are Brentano and thephenomenological tradition right? Do all mental states exhibitintentionality? Is intentionality a feature of every aspect of humanexperience? Are all forms of consciousness consciousness ofsomething? Does every mental state possess one or the other directionof fit? Do sensations (e.g., pains), feelings, emotions (e.g.,depression) all exhibit intentionality? These questions are verycontroversial in contemporary philosophy of mind. Before examiningvarious contradictory answers to these questions, a preliminaryquestion is relevant. Whether Brentano was right or not, why should wewant a mark or a criterion of the mental at all?

Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind: …
On Jan 1, 1983 John Searl published: Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind

An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind (1983) ..

Thus, Rorty's radical irrealist picture of the mind relies on theobservation that pains and arithmetical beliefs seem to have nothingin common. Not many contemporary philosophers of mind would acceptRorty's irrealist picture of the mind. But most do recognize that ifminds are real, then two problems arise: the problem ofintentionality and the problem of consciousness or consciousphenomenal experience. Most would claim that a solution to theproblem of intentionality is not ipso facto a solution to theproblem of consciousness. Why is that so?

The puzzles of intentionality lie at the interface between the philosophy of mind and the ..

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Another reaction has been just to concede that intentionality isepiphenomenal or that no mental state can ever be causallyefficacious in virtue of its intentional content. If so, then(contrary to common sense) what one does is not causally explained bywhat one intends, believes and desires. One example of theepiphenomenalist view of intentionality is Stephen Stich's (1983)“syntactical view of the mind.” If, as Fodor has argued(see ), there is a language of thought consisting of mental symbols, then,according to the syntactical view of the mind, only the syntacticproperties, not the semantic properties, of mental symbols can becausally efficacious. Another example has been Daniel Dennett (1987),according to whom the intentional stance is merely a useful predictiveheuristic with no explanatory import. On Dennett's view, there cannotbe what Haugeland (1981) calls a “semantic engine.”

Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind by John R Searle starting ..

Intentionality An Essay On The Philosophy Of Mind

So-called “intentionalists” are philosophers who thinkthat phenomenal consciousness can really be explained byintentionality because they think that phenomenal states areintentional states. On the intentionalist account, the phenomenalqualities of an experience are the properties that objects arerepresented as having in the experience. Some intentionalists, likeFred Dretske (1995) and Michael Tye (1995), think that whereasthoughts and propositional attitudes are mental representations withconceptual content, qualia or conscious experiences aremental representations with nonconceptual content (aboutwhich see Dretske 1981, Peacocke 1992, 2001 and the essays in Crane1992). On their view, to have phenomenal features is to have a certainsort of nonconceptual content. On Tye's (1995) view, for example,pains are mental representations of bodily parts and the phenomenalexperience of a pain is the nonconceptual content of the bodilyrepresentation. Other intentionalists such as Elizabeth Anscombe(1965) and especially John McDowell (1994), who are skeptical of thedistinction between conceptual and nonconceptual content, will appealto other criteria, e.g., functional role, to account for phenomenalstates (see the SEP entry on Nonconceptual mental content). Forexample, McDowell (1994) argues that the phenomenal content ofexperience can be explained in terms of a suitable notion ofdemonstrative conceptual content. Whether the intentionalist accountcan be extended to the phenomenal character of all experiences is atpresent an open question (cf. Crane, 2007).