Intentional inexistence and phenomenal intentionality

Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):307-340 (2007)
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Abstract
How come we can represent Bigfoot even though Bigfoot does not exist, given that representing something involves bearing a relation to it and we cannot bear relations to what does not exist?This is the problem of intentional inexistence. This paper develops a two-step solution to this problem, involving an adverbial account of conscious representation, or phenomenal inten- tionality, and the thesis that all representation derives from conscious representation. The solution is correspondingly two-part: we can consciously represent Bigfoot because consciously representing Bigfoot does not involve bearing a relation to Bigfoot, but rather instantiating a certain non-relational property of representing Bigfoot-wise; and we can non-consciously represent Bigfoot because non-consciously representing Bigfoot does not involve bearing a relation to Bigfoot, but rather bearing a relation to conscious representations of Bigfoot
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