The problem of intentionality and intentional objects critical analysis of the proposal by Searle and Crane

Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica 105 (1):17-40 (2013)
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Intentionality is traditionally defined as the property of a mental state to be directed at something presented in a particular way. The fact that we can think about objects which do not exist makes this definition problematic: what kind of things are those objects? The aim of this paper is to analyse the definition of intentionality as a relation in theories which do not admit non-existent special entities. In particular, I consider John R. Searle and Tim Crane’s theories of intentionality and I argue that neither Searle’s notion of a non-ordinary relation between the intentional state and the intentional object nor Crane’s idea of a relation between the intentional state and the intentional content succeed in holding together the traditional definition of intentionality and the purpose to not be committed to some kind of special entities. This intent seems finally hardly compatible with the traditional definition of intentionality.



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Ilaria Canavotto
University of Maryland, College Park

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