How to dig up minds: The intentional analysis program in cognitive archaeology

European Journal of Philosophy 32 (1):130-144 (2024)
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This paper introduces a new approach to the study of Paleolithic minds. It is developed on the basis of the phenomenological concept of intentionality: the mind's central characteristic of being about or directed at something. In phenomenology, the world is considered not qua fact, but qua appearance, as a correlate of the mind's intentional activity. Both world-appearance and the mind's directedness are further considered from a first-person viewpoint, and in a scaffolding fashion, with more complex acts disclosing new types of objects or aspects of them. This paper develops a framework for applying intentional analysis to minds of the past. This way, the subjective “world-having” of past subjects can be systematically reconstructed in a manner consistent with the empirical data available. This discloses a new field of inquiry that thus far has not been clearly grasped, even though the questions belonging to it are everywhere recognized as being of the greatest importance to the discipline. The intentional analysis of the scaffolding of acts and what they disclose can help to clarify essential concepts in cognitive archaeological debates, and to better understand the evolution of the hominin mind.



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Corijn van Mazijk
University of Groningen

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Between social cognition and material engagement: the cooperative body hypothesis.Hayden Kee - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-27.

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References found in this work

Phenomenology of Perception.Aron Gurwitsch, M. Merleau-Ponty & Colin Smith - 1964 - Philosophical Review 73 (3):417.
The intrinsic quality of experience.Gilbert Harman - 1990 - Philosophical Perspectives 4:31-52.
Intentionalism defended.Alex Byrne - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (2):199-240.
Phenomenal states.Brian Loar - 1990 - Philosophical Perspectives 4:81-108.

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