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Encyclopedia > Intentionality

Intentionality, originally a concept from scholastic philosophy, was reintroduced in contemporary philosophy by the philosopher and psychologist Franz Brentano in his work Psychologie vom Empirischen Standpunkte. While often simplistically summarised as "aboutness" or the relationship between mental acts and the external world, Brentano defined it as the main characteristic of "psychical phenomena" (psychische Phänomene), by which they could be distinguished from "physical phenomena" (physische Phänomene). Every psychical, or mental, phenomenon, every psychological act, has a content, is directed at an object (the intentional object). Every belief, desire etc. has an object that it is about: the believed, the wanted. Brentano used the expression "intentional inexistence" to indicate the status of the objects of thought in the mind. The property of being intentional, of having an intentional object, was the key feature to distinguish psychical phenomena and physical phenomena, because physical phenomena lack intentionality altogether. Scholastic redirects here. ... These five broad types of question are not the only subjects of philosophical inquiry, and there are many overlaps between the categories which are subsumed within the discipline under the four major headings of Logic, Ontology, Epistemology, and Axiology. ... Franz Clemens Honoratus Hermann Brentano (January 16, 1838 Marienberg am Rhein (near Boppard) - March 17, 1917 Zürich) was an influential figure in both philosophy and psychology. ...


Through the works of Husserl, who took it over from Brentano, the concept of intentionality received more widespread attention in current philosophy, both continental and analytic. Edmund Husserl Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl (April 8, 1859 - April 26, 1938, Freiburg) was a German philosopher, known as the father of phenomenology. ... ... Analytic philosophy is the dominant philosophical movement in University philosophy departments in English-speaking countries, although one of its founders, Gottlob Frege, was German, and many of its leading proponents, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, Rudolf Carnap, Kurt Gödel and Karl Popper, were Austrian. ...


In current artificial intelligence and philosophy of mind intentionality is a controversial subject and sometimes claimed to be something that a machine will never achieve. Artificial intelligence (AI) is defined as intelligence exhibited by an artificial entity. ... Philosophy of mind is the philosophical study of the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, and consciousness. ...


In the field of social cognition and the study of folk psychology, intentionality has a different meaning. Human perceivers consider a behavior intentional when it appears purposeful or done intentionally -- that is, based on reasons (beliefs, desires) and performed with skill and awareness. In many contexts, people read the intentions underlying others' behavior effortlessly. Social cognition is the name for both a branch of psychology that studies the cognitive processes involved in social interaction, and an umbrella term for the processes themselves. ... Folk psychology (sometimes called naïve psychology) is the psychological theory implicit in our everyday ascriptions of others actions, and includes concepts such as belief (he thinks that Peter is wise), desire (she wants that piece of cake), fear (Alex is afraid of spiders) and hope (she hopes that he...


N.B. intentionality (-tion-) is not to be confused with intensionality (-sion-), a concept from semantics. Intension refers to the meanings or characteristics encompassed by a given word. ... In the main, semantics (from the Greek and in greek letters σημαντικός or in latin letters semantikos, or significant meaning, derived from sema, sign) is the study of meaning, in some sense of that term. ...


Further reading

  • Malle, B. F., Moses, L. J., & Baldwin, D. A. (Eds.). Intentions and intentionality: Foundations of social cognition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, [1] 2001.
  • Mohanty, Jitendra Nath. The Concept of Intentionality: A Critical Study. St. Louis, MO: Warren H. Green, 1972.

See also

Alexius Meinong (1853 - 1920) was an Austrian philosopher. ... The Chinese room argument is a thought experiment designed by John Searle (1980 [1]) as a counterargument to the stronger claims made by strong artificial intelligence (AI, also functionalism). ... Consciousness is a quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise such key features as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and ones environment. ... Daniel Dennett Daniel Clement Dennett (born March 28, 1942) is a prominent American philosopher. ... Folk psychology (sometimes called naïve psychology) is the psychological theory implicit in our everyday ascriptions of others actions, and includes concepts such as belief (he thinks that Peter is wise), desire (she wants that piece of cake), fear (Alex is afraid of spiders) and hope (she hopes that he... Gilbert Ryle Gilbert Ryle (1900–1976), was a philosopher, and a representative of the generation of British ordinary language philosophers influenced by Wittgensteins insights into language, and is principally known for his critique of Cartesian dualism, for which he coined the phrase the ghost in the machine. He referred... Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (June 21, 1905 – April 15, 1980) was a French existentialist philosopher, dramatist, novelist and critic. ... John Rogers Searle (born July 31, 1932) is Mills Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, and is noted for contributions to the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and consciousness, on the characteristics of socially constructed versus physical realities, and on practical reason. ... Martin Heidegger (September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976) was a German philosopher. ... The mind-body problem is the problem of determining the relationship between the human body and the human mind. ... Thomas Nagel (born July 4, 1937) is Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University. ... Wilfrid Stalker Sellars (May 20, 1912 - July 2, 1989) was an American philosopher. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Intentionality - definition of Intentionality in Encyclopedia (274 words)
Intentionality, originally a concept from scholastic philosophy, was reintroduced in contemporary philosophy by the philosopher and psychologist Franz Brentano in his work Psychologie vom Empirischen Standpunkte.
The property of being intentional, of having an intentional object, was the key feature to distinguish psychical phenomena and physical phenomena, because physical phenomena lack intentionality altogether.
N.B. intentionality (-tion-) is not to be confused with intensionality (-sion-), a concept from semantics.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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