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Abstract: Horgan and Tienson (2002) argue that some intentional content is constitutively determined by phenomenology alone. We argue that this would require a certain kind of covariation of phenomenal states and intentional states which is not established by Horgan and Tienson’s arguments. We make the case that there is inadequate reason to think phenomenology determines perceptual belief, and that there is reason to doubt that phenomenology determines any species of non-perceptual intentionality. We also raise worries about the capacity of phenomenology to map onto intentionality in a way that would be appropriate for any determiner of content / fixer of truth conditions
Abstract: Charles Siewert offers a persuasive argument to show that the presence of certain phenomenal features logically suffices for the presence of certain intentional ones. He claims that this shows that (some) phenomenal features are inherently intentional. I argue that he has not established the latter thesis, even if we grant the logical sufficiency claim. For he has not ruled out a rival alternative interpretation of the relevant data, namely, that (some) intentional features are inherently phenomenal
Abstract: Since the seventies, it has been customary to assume that intentionality is
independent of consciousness. Recently, a number of philosophers have rejected this
assumption, claiming intentionality is closely tied to consciousness, inasmuch as non-
conscious intentionality in some sense depends upon conscious intentionality. Within this
alternative framework, the question arises of how to account for unconscious
intentionality, and different authors have offered different accounts. In this paper, I
compare and contrast four possible accounts of unconscious intentionality, which I call
potentialism, inferentialism, eliminativism, and interpretivism. The first three are the
leading accounts in the existing literature, while the fourth is my own proposal, which I
argue to be superior. I then argue that an upshot of interpretivism is that all unconscious
intentionality is ultimately grounded is a specific kind of cognitive phenomenology.
Abstract: One of the most enduring elements of Davidson’s legacy is the idea that intentionality is inherently normative. The normativity of intentionality means different things to different people and in different contexts, however. A subsidiary goal of this paper is to get clear on the sense in which Davidson means the thesis that intentionality is inherently normative. The central goal of the paper is to consider whether the thesis is true, in light of recent work on intentionality that insists on an intimate connection between intentionality and phenomenal consciousness. According to several recent authors, there is a kind of intentionality – “phenomenal intentionality” – that is fully constituted by the phenomenal character of conscious experiences. I will argue that although Davidson’s thesis, when correctly understood, is compelling for most intentionality, it is false of phenomenal intentionality. I start, in §1, with an explication of the notion of phenomenal intentionality; in §2, I elucidate Davidson’s thesis and his case for it; in §3, I argue that the case does not extend to phenomenal intentionality; I close, in §4, with some objections and replies.
Abstract: How come we can represent Bigfoot even though Bigfoot does not exist, given that representing something involves bearing a relation to it and we cannot bear relations to what does not exist?This is the problem of intentional inexistence. This paper develops a two-step solution to this problem, involving (first) an adverbial account of conscious representation, or phenomenal inten- tionality, and (second) the thesis that all representation derives from conscious representation (all intentionality derives from phenomenal intentionality). The solution is correspondingly two-part: we can consciously represent Bigfoot because consciously representing Bigfoot does not involve bearing a relation to Bigfoot, but rather instantiating a certain non-relational (“adverbial”) property of representing Bigfoot-wise; and we can non-consciously represent Bigfoot because non-consciously representing Bigfoot does not involve bearing a relation to Bigfoot, but rather bearing a relation to conscious representations of Bigfoot
Abstract: It is often assumed thatconsciousness and intentionality are twomutually independent aspects of mental life.When the assumption is denounced, it usuallygives way to the claim that consciousness issomehow dependent upon intentionality. Thepossibility that intentionality may bedependent upon consciousness is rarelyentertained. Recently, however, John Searle andColin McGinn have argued for just suchdependence. In this paper, I reconstruct andevaluate their argumentation. I am in sympathyboth with their view and with the lines ofargument they employ in its defense. UnlikeSearle and McGinn, however, I am quite attachedto a naturalist approach to intentionality. Itwill turn out to be somewhat difficult toreconcile naturalism with the notion thatintentionality is dependent upon consciousness,although, perhaps surprisingly, I will arguethat McGinn's case for such dependence iscompatible with naturalism
Abstract: The ontology of (merely) intentional objects is a can of worms. If we can avoid ontological commitment to such entities, we should. In this paper, I offer a strategy for accomplishing that. This is to reject the traditional act-object account of intentionality in favor of an adverbial account. According to adverbialism about intentionality, having a dragon thought is not a matter of bearing the thinking-about relation to dragons, but of engaging in the activity of thinking dragon-wise
Abstract: We review some of the work already done around the notion of phenomenal intentionality and propose a way of turning this body of work into a self-conscious research program for understanding intentionality.
Abstract: There is now a considerable literature that goes under the heading of “phenomenal intentionality.” But it features a number of distinct issues. What they have in common is the claim that intentionality bears a closer relation to phenomenology than had previously been recognized. There is a basic thesis, which is controversial, and there are further arguments attempting to draw more exciting morals from the basic thesis. My purpose in this paper is to survey these issues, see what may be at stake, and adjudicate
Abstract: Intentionality is usually defined as the directedness of the mind toward something other than itself. My desire for a cold beer is directed at the cold beer in front of me. Much of consciousness is intentional, my conscious experiences are usually directed at something. However, conscious experiences typically have a phenomenal character: there is something it is like for me to see the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean and to feel the warm water lapping over my feet, and to smell the briny breeze. An important question to answer concerning the relationship between intentionality and consciousness is whether all conscious states are intentional? Another question concerns the explanatory priority of intentionality and phenomenal character: Can phenomenal character be explained in terms of intentionality? Or is it the case that intentionality should be understood in terms of phenomenology? Philosophers from the analytic, phenomenological, and naturalistic traditions have all made important contributions to our understanding of intentionality and consciousness. Some philosophers, such as Dretske, think that our phenomenology is intentionally structured. Others, such as Horgan and Tienson think that intentionality is fundamentally determined by our phenomenology. This looks like an impasse; however it may well be resolved by a combination of contemporary accounts of representation combined with an embodied phenomenology.
Abstract: I address a second issue that arises once we accept intentionalism: can intentionalists accept the claim of Horgan and Tienson (among others) that phenomenology is in some sense prior to intentionality? And should they?
Abstract: In the past few years, a number of philosophers (notably, Siewert, C. (The significance of consciousness. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998); Horgan and Tienson (Philosophy of mind: Classical and contemporary readings, Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 520–533); Pitt 2004) have maintained the following three theses: (1) there is a distinctive sort of phenomenology characteristic of conscious thought, as opposed to other sorts of conscious mental states; (2) different conscious thoughts have different phenomenologies; and (3) thoughts with the same phenomenology have the same intentional content. The last of these three claims is open to at least two different interpretations. It might mean that the phenomenology of a thought expresses its intentional content, where intentional content is understood as propositional, and propositions are understood as mind-and language-independent abstract entities (such as sets of possible worlds, functions from possible worlds to truth-values, structured n-tuples of objects and properties, etc.). And it might mean that the phenomenology of a thought is its intentional content—that is, that the phenomenology of a thought, like the phenomenology of a sensation, constitutes its content. The second sort of view is a kind of psychologism. Psychologistic views hold that one or another sort of thing—numbers, sentences, propositions, etc.—that we can think or know about is in fact a kind of mental thing. Since Frege, psychologism has been in bad repute among analytic philosophers. It is widely held that Frege showed that such views are untenable, since, among other things, they subjectivize what is in fact objective, and, hence, relativize such things as consistency and truth to the peculiarities of human psychology. The purpose of this paper is to explore the consequences of the thesis that intentional mental content is phenomenological (what I call “intentional psychologism”) and to try to reach a conclusion about whether it yields a tenable view of mind, thought and meaning. I believe the thesis is not so obviously wrong as it will strike many philosophers of mind and language. In fact, it can be defended against the standard objections to psychologism, and it can provide the basis for a novel and interesting account of mentality
Abstract: In a series of papers and lectures, Sydney Shoemaker has developed a sophisticated Russellian theory of phenomenal content (1994, 2000, 2001, 2003). It has as its central motivation two considerations. One is the possibility of spectrum-inversion without illusion. The other is the transparency of experience