Intentionality and Naturalism

Stephen P. Stich and Stephen Laurence

in Deconstructing the Mind

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780195126662
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199868322 | DOI:

Series: Philosophy of Mind Series

Intentionality and Naturalism

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Intentional irrealism is the view that nothing in the world instantiates intentional properties. If intentional irrealism is true, then there are no beliefs, desires or other intentional states. And that, according to Jerry Fodor, would be “the greatest intellectual catastrophe in the history of our species.” With considerable plausibility, Fodor also claims that the deepest motivation for intentional irrealism is the suspicion that “the intentional can’t be naturalized.” This chapter considers a number of accounts of what is required to “naturalize the intentional.” On some of these accounts, it is indeed plausible that the intentional cannot be naturalized, but nothing catastrophic would follow. On other accounts, it might well be catastrophic if the intentional cannot be “naturalized,” but on these accounts, there is no reason to believe that the intentional cannot be naturalized. Among the accounts of “naturalizing” considered are those that require conceptual analysis, those that require the existence of a scientifically discoverable essential property (or natural kind), and those that require supervenience on some set of nonintentional properties.

Keywords: conceptual analysis; essential property; Jerry Fodor; intentional property; natural kind; naturalizing; supervenience

Chapter.  11555 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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