Acta Analytica:1-22 (forthcoming)

The paper argues against the growing tendency to interpret Brentano’s conception of inner consciousness in self-representational terms. This trend has received support from the tendency to see Brentano as a forerunner of contemporary same-order theories of consciousness and from the view that Brentano models intransitive consciousness on transitive consciousness, such that a mental state is conscious insofar as it is aware of itself as an object. However, this reading fails to take into account the Brentanian concept of object, which is ultimately derived from ancient and medieval philosophy, as well as the secondary, elusive character that Brentano attributes to inner perception. According to Brentano, we have an aspectual but transparent consciousness of transcendent objects, whereas our awareness of our own mental acts is always complete but incidental, and ultimately opaque. Reversing the relationship between intentionality and consciousness faces difficulties at the textual interpretative level, but also raises theoretical problems, for it risks treating Brentano’s theory of mind as a form of subjectivism and idealism.
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-021-00480-2
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