Brentano's Mind: Unity Without Simplicity

Rivista di Filosofia 108 (3):349-64 (2017)
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Abstract

This paper offers a reconstruction of Franz Brentano’s mereological solution to the problem of the unity of consciousness and explores some implications of this solution for the ontology of the mind. In section 1 I sketch Brentano’s ontological distinctions between things, collectives, and divisives. In section 2 I present Brentano’s mereological solution and in section 3 I review his main pro-arguments. Eventually, in section 4 I consider some Jamesian objections to the mereological approach. I argue the notion of ‘mental parts’ can be given a rather innocuous meaning by being conceived of as the expression of conceptual distinctions grounded in similarity and contrast relations between total mental phenomena.

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Arnaud Dewalque
University of Liège

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