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Consciousness as Existence, and the End of Intentionality


It was only in the last century of the past millennium that the Philosophy of Mind began to flourish as a part of philosophy with some autonomy, enough for students to face examination papers in it by itself. Despite an inclination in some places to give it the name of Philosophical Psychology, it is not any science of the mind. This is not to say that the Philosophy of Mind is unempirical, but that it is like the rest of philosophy in being more taken up with good thinking about experienced facts than with establishing, elaborating or using them. Logic, if not formal logic, is the core of all philosophy, and so of the Philosophy of Mind. The discipline's first question is what it is for a thing to be conscious, whatever its capabilities. The discipline's second question is how a thing's being conscious is related to the physical world, including chairs, brains and bodily movements—the mind-brain or mind-body problem.

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1 London: Hutchinson.

2 Searle John, Mind, Language and Society: Philosophy in the Real World (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999), p. ix.

3 By my understanding, Functionalism—serious and exclusive Functionalism—is within Naturalism, as is Cognitive Science with Philosophical Ambition, and also the doctrine that conscious events are physical events in heads but different from physical events recognized now in neuroscience. For a version of this latter view, see my Consciousness, Neural Functionalism, Real Subjectivity,’ American Philosophical Quarterly, 32/4 (October, 1995). Thomas Hobbes, U. T. Place and Patricia Churchland count as Eliminative Materialists, as do those Behaviourists who said that conscious events are no more than behaviour, the latter being movements.

4 For some more along these lines, and also the objection that Functionalism despite its pretensions is in fact no advance on Eliminative Materialism, see my ‘Functionalism, Identity Theories, The Union Theory,’ in Warner R. & Szubka T., (eds), The Mind-Body Problem: A Guide to the Current Debate (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994), pp. 215–35.

5 Thomas Nagel, ‘Conceiving the Impossible and the Mind-Body Problem,’ Philosophy July, 1998.

6 Kuhn T. S., The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962).

7 ‘Consciousness as Existence,’ in O'Hear Anthony, (ed.), Current Issues in the Philosophy of Mind, Royal Institute of Philosophy lectures for 1996–7 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 137–55; ‘Consciousness as Existence Again,’ in Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, Vol. 9, Philosophy of Mind, (ed.) Elevitch B. (Bowling Green: Philosophy Documentation Center, 1999), and also forthcoming in Theoria. The second paper corrects the first in certain important respects.

8 More sense than made by me in ‘The Union Theory and Anti-Individualism,’ Heil John and Mele Alfred, (eds), Mental Causation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).

9 Chisholm R. M., Perceiving: A Philosophical Study (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1957).

10 ‘Intentionality,’ in Audi Robert, (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary ofPhilosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)

11 I take the opportunity to affirm that existentialism about perceptual consciousness is no continuation at all of my positive lines of thought in Seeing Things,’ Synthese 98, 1, January 1994, and ‘Consciousness, Neural Functionalism, Real Subjectivity.’

12 Psychology From an Empirical Standpoint, Kraus Oskar, McAlister Linda L. (eds) (London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973), p. 88. For interpretation of the paragraph, in particular in connection with existencein rather than non-existence, see Bell David, Husserl (London: Routledge, 1990), Ch. 1.

13 For introductory sketches of intentionality, see Priest Stephen, Theories of the Mind (London: Penguin Books, 1991); Flanagan Owen, The Science of the Mind (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1984), Stalnaker Robert, Inquiry (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1984), Ch. 1, and Crane Tim, ‘Intentionality,’ Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (London: Routledge, 1998), Craig Edward (ed.).

14 Perceiving.

15 See my A Theory of Determinism: The Mind, Neuroscience, and Life-Hopes (Oxford: Clarendon, 1988) or Mind and Brain (Oxford: Clarendon, 1999), both p. 71 ff.

16 Tim Crane, ‘Representation,’ Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

17 Cf. Fodor Jerry A., Psychosemantics: The Problem of Meaning in the Philosophy of Mind (Cambridge, MA.: Bradford Book, 1987).

18 ‘Intentionality as the Mark of the Mental,’ in Current Issues in the Philosophy of Mind, Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures for 1996–97, pp. 229–51.

19 Op. cit., pp. 246, 238, 243.

20 M. G. F. Martin, ‘Setting Things Before the Mind,’ in Current Issues in the Philosophy of Mind.

21 ‘Intentionality as the Mark of the Mental,’ p. 244.

22 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

23 Intentionality, p. 6.

24 Intentionality, p. 4.

25 Intentionality, p. 48.

26 Searle John, The Rediscovery of the Mind (London & Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1992), p. xi ff, p. 1 ff, p. 113 ff

27 The Rediscovery of the Mind

28 For a general assessment of Searle as reductionist, dualist or whatever, see my ‘Consciousness, Neural Functionalism, Real Subjectivity,’ especially pp. 337–338.

29 Intentionality, pp. 44, 45.

30 Searle takes the intentionality tradition before him to be ‘something of a mess.’ Intentionality, p. 1.

31 Grossmann Reinhardt. ‘Intentional Relation,’ in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), Honderich Ted (ed.).

32 Quine W. V. O., Word and Object (New York: Wiley, 1960), p. 221.

33 Psychosemantics: The Problem of Meaning in the Philosophy of Mind, p. 97

34 See intentionality doctrine V, p. 14.

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