Not in the Mood for Intentionalism

Midwest Studies in Philosophy 41 (1):60-81 (2017)
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Abstract

According to intentionalism, the phenomenal character of experience is one and the same as the intentional content of experience. This view has a problem with moods (anxiety, depression, elation, irritation, gloominess, grumpiness, etc.). Mood experiences certainly have phenomenal character, but do not exhibit directedness, i.e., do not appear intentional. Standardly, intentionalists have re-described moods’ undirectedness in terms of directedness towards everything or the whole world (e.g., Crane, 1998; Seager, 1999). This move offers the intentionalist a way out, but is quite unsatisfying. More recently, Angela Mendelovici (2013a, b) has suggested something that looks more interesting and promising: instead of re-describing moods’ phenomenology, she accepts its undirectedness at face value and tries to explain it in intentionalist terms. In this paper, I focus on and criticize Mendelovici’s proposal. As I will show, despite its prima facie virtues, the view is poorly motivated. For, contrary to what Mendelovici argues, introspection does not support her proposal—arguably, it provides some evidence against it. So, the problem that intentionalism has with moods is not solved, but is still there.

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Davide Bordini
University of Turin

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