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Intentionality Mental Content Notes

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Intentionality 'The Distinction between Mental and Physical Phenomena' (Excerpt)
- Brentano
? Thinks (at least some) sense perceptions are mental phenomena
? "Nothing can be judged, desired, hoped, or feared, unless one has a presentation of that thing."
? Mental phenomena are either presentations or are based on presentations.
? All mental phenomena are characterized by intentional inexistence: reference to a content; 'direction' toward an object.
? "Every mental phenomenon includes something as object within itself, although they do not all do so in the same way."
? The object to which a feeling refers isn't always an external one. o In sensations, feeling and object are 'fused into one'.
? We gain immediate, infallible, self-evident information using inner perception.
? "[N]o mental phenomenon is perceived by more than one individual." 'Intentional Inexistence' - R. M. Chisholm
? 1: "[A] simple declarative sentence is intentional if it uses a substantival expression - a name or description - in such a way that neither the sentence nor its contradictory implies either that there is or that there isn't anything to which the substantival expression truly applies."
? 2: Noncompound sentences which contain propositional clauses are intentional provided that neither the sentence nor its contradictory implies either that the propositional clause is true or that it is false.
? 3: If there are 2 names/descriptions that designate the same thing and that E is a sentence obtained by separating these 2 names by means of 'is identical with', and there is a sentence A using one of those names and a sentence B that is the same except it uses the other name for the thing, then A is intentional if the conjunction of A and E doesn't imply B.
? Further, a compound declarative sentence is intentional iff at least one of its component sentences is intentional.
? Brentano was right that intentionality is the 'mark of the mental'.
? Ayer is wrong to try and define 'thinking of x' as 'disposed to use symbols which designate x' as a way of eliminating intentionality, because the concept of designation is intentional.
? Carnap is wrong to try and define the 'intension' of a predicate of speaker X as 'the general condition which an

?object y must fulfil in order for X to be willing to ascribe the predicate Q to y'. o A counterexample is any situation in which an individual mistakes an object for a different object and is thus willing to apply the 'wrong' predicate to it. "Many philosophers and psychologists have suggested, in effect, that a man may be said to perceive an object x, or to take some object x to have a certain property f, provided only that there is something which signifies x to him." o But we can't get a non-intentional definition of 'sign'.
? Difficulty of specifying the respect/degree of similarity which must obtain between the sign and the referent - e.g. if it has to have some similarities, then all stimuli end up signifying each other since any 2 stimuli have at least one similarity e.g. causing neural activity Final (but inadequate) way of showing Brentano was wrong: characterizing intentional states as states that can be fulfilled/satisfied or frustrated/disrupted depending on whether the 'intentional object' occurs/exists. o But you can't do this without adding that the subject has certain beliefs concerning the nature of the conditions under which they (fail to) perceive the object. So you can't get rid of the intentionality.

'A Recipe for Thought' - Fred Dretske
? "[P]hilosophical naturalism is motivated by a constructivist model of understanding." o "[R]ecipes for thought can't have interpretive attitudes or explanatory stances among the ingredients." o Or at least, then they wouldn't be illuminating.
? "Some objects are constituted, in part, by their relationships to other objects."
? But Dretske thinks: "As long as there is no mystery - at least not the same mystery - about how the parts work as how the whole is supposed to work, it is perfectly acceptable to use intentional ingredients in a recipe for thought, purpose, and intelligence."
? Intensionality is a rough guide to intentionality.
? Compass states are just as intentional as mental states - e.g. they're about the arctic under one aspect (as the location of the north pole) and not others (as the habitat of polar bears). o If this is an example of intentionality then we don't even need to naturalize intentionality because it's already natural. o So we can include intentional systems in a 'recipe for thought'.

???The real problem in 'building' mental systems lies in finding a recipe for intentional inexistence (Chisholm describes this as the 1st mark of intentionality). o I.e. how can misrepresentation happen?
Since meaning/content is independent of its truth, a recipe for understanding misrepresentation is a recipe for constructing meanings. "If the only natural functions are those provided by evolutionary history and learning, then, no one is going to build a thinker of thoughts, much less a mind, in the laboratory." o "There is a recipe for building internal representations, but it is not a recipe you or I, or anyone else, can use to build one." Dretske's recipe for thought: Take a system that has a need for the information that F, a system whose survival or wellbeing depends on its doing A in conditions F. Make sure that this system has a means of detecting (i.e. an internal element that indicates) the presence of condition F. Add a natural process, one capable of conferring on the element that carries information F the function of carrying this piece of information. (There is nothing you can do but sit back and hope things develop in the right way; you can't literally 'add' this.)
- You need living systems of a certain complexity to achieve this but there's no requirement that they are already able to represent things. Systems that acquire this capacity automatically are intelligent systems capable of behaving in a rational way (from the point of view of its well-being). o "We do not need independent "rationality constraints" in our theory of content. Rationality emerges as a byproduct in the very process in which representations are created."

'Biosemantics' - Ruth Garrett Millikan
? "[T]he production of an accidental side effect, no matter how regular, is not one of a system's functions; that goes by definition. More damaging, however, it simply is not true that representations must carry natural information."
? But Millikan does think that we need to appeal to teleology/function to fly a naturalist theory of content. o What makes a thing an inner representation is that its function is to represent.
? It is the devices that use representations which determine them to be representations and at the same time determine their content (Fodor would disagree).

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