The Road to ideelle Verähnlichung. Anton Marty’s Conception of Intentionality in the Light of its Brentanian Background

Quaestio 12:171-232 (2012)
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Anton Marty (1847-1914) is known to be the most faithful pupil of Franz Brentano. As a matter of fact, most of his philosophical ideas find their source in the works of his master. Yet, the faithfulness of Marty is not constant. As the rich correspondence between the two thinkers shows, Marty elaborates an original theory of intentionality from ca. 1904 onward. This theory is based on the idea that intentionality is a process of mental assimilation (ideelle Verähnlichung), a process at the core of which lies a sui generis relation of “ideal similitude” holding between a thinking subject and its object. This study spells out the Martyian notion of mental assimilation and traces back Marty’s evolution from his earlier position (prominently described in the recently published Deskriptive Psychologie of 1893-1894) to his final view as it is found in the Untersuchungen of 1908. It turns out that besides Brentano, Husserl is a key figure in that evolution. Such a “genetic”elucidation of Marty’s last theory is required in order to reach the main goal of this paper, namely: the clarification of Marty’s degree of dependence upon Brentano with respect to the theory of intentionality. That being said, we do not merely intend to compare the mature Marty with Brentano: our “genetic” considerations will also allow us to describe the interaction between the two thinkers before 1904. Accordingly, we begin by presenting Brentano’s own position on intentionality in discussing its two currently competing readings, namely the “discontinuist” and the “continuist” one. Against a recent interpretation, we argue that Marty’s endorsement of a “discontinuist” reading is not based on a misunderstanding of Brentano’s position.

Author Profiles

Hamid Taieb
Humboldt University, Berlin


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