This course will explore recent developments in analytic philosophy of mind regarding the intentionality of thought and perception. For decades the analytic orthodoxy was that phenomenality and intentionality are metaphysically distinct. It was widely assumed that cognitive states (thoughts, beliefs, desires) do not have phenomenal properties and that purely sensory states (visual, auditory, etc. sensations, pains) do not have intentional properties. This was seen as fortunate, since promising naturalistic accounts of intentionality were available (tracking theories, conceptual role theories, teleological theories), whereas there seemed to be no prospects at all for a naturalistic theory of phenomenal consciousness. Recent years have seen increasing dissatisfaction with these theories of intentionality, and a new approach, “phenomenal intentionality” has become increasingly popular. On this approach (which obviously has deep affinities with the views of Brentano, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and other Phenomenologists), intentionality is taken to an essentially experiential phenomenon, and the orthodox separation of phenomenality and intentionality is seen as fundamentally mistaken.
The course will begin with an overview of the relevant naturalistic theories of intentionality, as well as the main objections to them. We will then study recent work in analytic philosophy of mind on the intentionality of perception and the phenomenology of thought.
- Teacher: David Pitt