Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Intentionality: intentionality is the ability of people and higher animals to relate to and react to circumstances such as things and states. Concepts, words, and sentences also refer to something but have no intentionality. This linguistic relating-to is called reference instead.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Franz Brentano on Intentionality - Dictionary of Arguments

Pauen I 22
Intentionality/Brentano/Pauen: this is not about ordinary language "intention"; but the necessary being "about" something.
I 23
Intentionality is inappropriate as an indication of the mental, since not all states of consciousness are intentional by character - E.g. pain. >Pain.
Field II 69
Intentionality/Believe/Brentano/Lewis/Field: David Lewis compares the problem with the following about numbers.
E.g. "Many apparent physical properties seem to combine physical and non-physical things - called numbers". For example, what kind of physical relation can a 7-gram heavy stone have to the number 7?". (Similar to Churchland 1979(1), Dennett 1982(2), Stalnaker 1984(3)).
FieldVs: the comparison does not contribute much.
Nominalism: is here a solution: literally there are no numbers, and then also no relations (Field 1980). This allows the use of numbers as a useful fiction. >Nominalism, >Fictions.
FieldVs: so viewed, there is no pressure to solve Brentano's problem.
Field II 71
Intentionality/Believe/Brentano/Horwich/FieldVsHorwich: (Horwich (1998)(4) shows how one can still miss the problem: thesis: according to him "means" and "believes" stand for real relations between people and propositions.
Horwich: but there is no reason to suppose that a physical access receives this relational status:
Definition fallacy of the constitution/Horwich/Field: the (false) assumption that what constitutes relational facts would itself be relational.
Field II 72
Intentionality/Brentano's Problem/Field: his problem is reformulated in our context: how could the having of truth conditions (in representations) be explained naturalistic?
II 259
Reference/indeterminacy/FieldVsBrentano: if reference is indeterminate, we can only accept one naturalistic response, not one of Brentano's of an irreducible mental connection.

1. Paul Churchland, Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind, Cambridge 1979
2. D. Dennett, "Beyond Belief" in: A: Woodfield (ed.), Truth and Object, Clarendon Press, 1-95
3. R. Stalnaker, Inquiry, Cambridge 1984
1. P. Horwich, Meaning, Oxford 1989
Prior I 123
Intentionality/Brentano: is a unique logical category. Similar to a relation, without being a real relation.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Brent I
F. Brentano
Psychology from An Empirical Standpoint (Routledge Classics) London 2014

Pauen I
M. Pauen
Grundprobleme der Philosophie des Geistes Frankfurt 2001

Field I
H. Field
Realism, Mathematics and Modality Oxford New York 1989

Field II
H. Field
Truth and the Absence of Fact Oxford New York 2001

Field III
H. Field
Science without numbers Princeton New Jersey 1980

Field IV
Hartry Field
"Realism and Relativism", The Journal of Philosophy, 76 (1982), pp. 553-67
Theories of Truth, Paul Horwich, Aldershot 1994

Pri I
A. Prior
Objects of thought Oxford 1971

Pri II
Arthur N. Prior
Papers on Time and Tense 2nd Edition Oxford 2003

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