Intentionality as intentional inexistence

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 66 (8):1371-1385 (2023)
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Abstract

One of Mark Textor’s main aims in Brentano’s Mind is to refute Brentano’s claim that intentionality – the capacity our mental acts have for being of, about, or directed on something – is the mark of the mental. I defend the view that Brentano analysed intentionality in terms of intentional inexistence (and so wasn’t an intentionality primitivist as Textor suggests). And I argue that we can regard intentionality as being the mark of the mental, but only if we give a non-relational analysis of the idea of intentional inexistence. Textor objects to an analysis of intentionality in terms of intentional inexistence for failing to account for the relationship between the object our mental act is directed on, and the ‘immanent’ or ‘inexistent’ object which all mental acts contain. I claim that this problem doesn’t arise if the object our mental act is directed on just is the immanent/ inexistent object. I argue that Brentano (at least sometimes) seems to identify the two. I then offer my own view of intentionality according to which our mental acts are directed on immanent/ inexistent objects, and that ‘directedness’ should be understood non-relationally.

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Laura Gow
Cambridge University

Citations of this work

Deeper into Brentano’s mind: response to critics.Mark Textor - 2023 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 66 (8):1440-1462.

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References found in this work

Naturalizing the Mind.Fred Dretske - 1995 - Philosophy 72 (279):150-154.
Summary of "Elements of Mind" and Replies to Critics.Tim Crane - 2004 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 4 (11):223-240.
Intentional inexistence and phenomenal intentionality.Uriah Kriegel - 2007 - Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):307-340.

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