Philosophy Lexicon 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 Item Summary Meta data
Fodor IV 14
Intentionality/Holism/Fodor/Lepore: For example: "if someone asks you for a color, you will first think of red."
Such generalizations work because there are thoughts about colors and thoughts about red. (De dicto!).
Problem: if the intentionality holism is true and, of course, we have many different belief contents because of our different biographies, then it might turn out that none of your thoughts has the property T* with respect to mine.
It would follow that only one of us could have thoughts about colors or thoughts about red.
IV 15
Another problem: change of opinion and change of belief attitudes could not be explained.
If the property T* is holistic, then there can be no robust intentional generalizations that can be shared by more than one individual at a time. Many philosophers also believe this:
Consequence: there are no intentional laws: Quine, Dennett, Davidson, the Churchlands, Stich.
Fodor IV 16
Intentality/Science/Holism/Fodor/Lepore: if the meaning holism is true, it looks bad at first sight for psychology, cognitive sciences, economics, linguistics, etc.
But you can read the matter differently:
If the "constitutive principles" of the intentional theory are holistic (perhaps normative or holistic because normative) in a manner in which, for example, bio-sciences, or physics are not, then perhaps intentional explanations are immune to any reductionism that threatens them through physics and biology.
If one tries to defend the everyday psychology of belief that it articulates less, but not fundamentally different from unproblematic empirical sciences such as meteorology or geology, it might turn out that they are empirically completely false.
It may be that our belief psychology is empirically completely false and is not compatible with the rest of our sciences. (Quine and the Churchlands think that something like this is practically in progress).

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.

Churla I
Paul M. Churchland
Matter and Consciousness Cambridge 2013

Churli I
Patricia S. Churchland
Touching a Nerve: Our Brains, Our Brains New York 2014

J. Fodor/E. Lepore
Holism Cambridge USA Oxford UK 1992

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2018-06-22