Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Philosophy

Supervisor

Dr. Andrew Botterell/Dr. Angela Mendelovici

Abstract

Abstract

Part 1 of the thesis questions the traditional relation model of intentionality. After fixing reference on the target phenomenon, intentionality, and explaining my interest in it, I ask what sorts of things intentionality might be a relation to. I consider ordinary objects, properties, propositions and hybrid views, and conclude all make the intentional relation appear rather mysterious. From there, I move on to examine the relation view’s most prominent proponents, the tracking theorists—pointing out some challenges such views face, and concluding that it might be worthwhile looking into alternatives to the relation view.

Part 2 asks whether the newly emerging phenomenal intentionality movement can provide a viable alternative to the relation model of intentionality. After focusing on a specific kind of phenomenal intentionality theory—something I call modificationism—I examine three such accounts. From there I go on to discuss some common complaints/challenges these kinds of views face, and consider how they might be addressed within the modificationist framework.

In Part 3, I address what I call the problem of cognitive contact: how do our contentful mental states manage to make cognitive contact with the ordinary objects (e.g. tables and chairs) that they appear to. The problem is particularly acute for any version of phenomenal intentionality that denies the relation view, and has been given very little attention in the literature. I consider how a modificationist might address this problem, and conclude that though some avenues appear promising, there is nevertheless a great deal of work to be done if modificationism, and phenomenal intentionality theory, is to overcome this problem


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