The Phenomenal Basis of Intentionality

The Phenomenal Basis of Intentionality

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Intentionality is the mind's ability to be "of," "about," or "directed" at things, or to "say" something. For example, a thought might "say" that grass is green or that Santa Claus is jolly, and a visual experience might be "of" a blue cup. While the existence of the phenomenon of intentionality is manifestly obvious, how exactly the mind gets to be "directed" at things, which may not even exist, is deeply mysterious and controversial.

It has been long assumed that the best way to explain intentionality is in terms of tracking relations, information, functional roles, and similar notions. This book breaks from this tradition, arguing that the only empirically adequate and in principle viable theory of intentionality is one in terms of phenomenal consciousness, the felt, subjective, or qualitative feature of mental life. According to the theory advanced by Mendelovici, the phenomenal intentionality theory, there is a central
kind of intentionality, phenomenal intentionality, that arises from phenomenal consciousness alone, and any other kind of intentionality derives from it.

The phenomenal intentionality theory faces important challenges in accounting for the rich and sophisticated contents of thoughts, broad and object-involving contents, and nonconscious states. Mendelovici proposes a novel and particularly strong version of the theory that can meet these challenges. The end result is a radically internalistic picture of the mind, on which all phenomenally represented contents are literally in our heads, and any non-phenomenal contents we in some sense represent
are expressly singled out by us.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 296 pages
  • 163 x 242 x 27mm | 520g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0190863803
  • 9780190863807
  • 1,966,866

Table of contents

Part I: Introduction
Chapter 1. Fixing Reference on Intentionality
Chapter 2. Goals and Methodology
Part II: Alternative Theories of Intentionality
Chapter 3. The Mismatch Problem for Tracking Theories
Chapter 4. Functional Role Theories and Tracking Theories Again
Part III: The Phenomenal Intentionality Theory
Chapter 5. The Phenomenal Intentionality Theory
Chapter6. PIT's Status as a Theory of Intentionality
Part IV: Challenging Cases
Chapter 7. Thought
Chapter 8. Nonconscious States
Part V: The Aspect View
Chapter 9. Is Intentionality a Relation to a Content?
Part VI: Conclusion
Chapter 10. Conclusion: Intentionality and Other Related Phenomena
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Review quote

...Mendelovici's stimulating book takes on a foundational issue in the philosophy of mind, developing a novel strategy for solving "the hard problem of intentionality". It is one of the first to develop the phenomenal intentionality program in detail and should become a starting point for future discussions of this topic. * Adam Pautz, Brown University, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (NDPR) *
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About Angela Mendelovici

Angela Mendelovici is Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario.
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