The Objects of Intentionality

Colin McGinn

in Consciousness and its Objects

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199267606
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601798 | DOI:
The Objects of Intentionality

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A sketch is given of the view that there are non-existent intentional objects: such things as Pegasus and Zeus, which do not exist but which can be the subject of thought, which can be referred to, and to which true predicates can be applied. It is claimed that non-existent objects are the foundation of all intentionality: whenever there is intentionality towards an existent object, there is concurrent intentionality towards a non-existent one. The consequences of this view for perception and reference are considered. The question of reference to non-physical objects – abstract or mental entities – is raised and it is argued that this does not involve an accompanying reference to a non-existent intentional object, as is the case with reference to the physical.

Keywords: intentionality; non-existent intentional objects; perception; reference

Chapter.  11310 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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