Physical Intentionality, Extrinsicness, and the Direction of Causation

Acta Analytica 31 (4):397-417 (2016)
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Abstract

The Physical Intentionality Thesis claims that dispositions share the marks of psychological intentionality; therefore, intentionality is not exclusively a mental phenomenon. Beyond the standard five marks, Alexander Bird introduces two additional marks of intentionality that he argues dispositions do not satisfy: first, thoughts are extrinsic; second, the direction of causation is that objects cause thoughts, not vice versa. In response, this paper identifies two relevant conceptions of extrinsicness, arguing that dispositions show deep parallels to thoughts on both conceptions. Then, it shows that Bird’s discussion of direction of causation overlooks complexities of dispositionality and intentionality that problematize apparent differences between thoughts and dispositions. The paper ends with a discussion of why we find these parallels between thoughts and dispositions.

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William A. Bauer
North Carolina State University

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What do philosophers believe?David Bourget & David J. Chalmers - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):465-500.
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Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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