Phenomenal Intentionality and the Perception/Cognition Divide

In Arthur Sullivan (ed.), Sensations, Thoughts, and Language: Essays in Honor of Brian Loar. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 167-183 (2019)
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One of Brian Loar’s most central contributions to contemporary philosophy of mind is the notion of phenomenal intentionality: a kind of intentional directedness fully grounded in phenomenal character. Proponents of phenomenal intentionality typically also endorse the idea of cognitive phenomenology: a sui generis phenomenal character of cognitive states such as thoughts and judgments that grounds these states’ intentional directedness. This combination creates a challenge, though: namely, how to account for the manifest phenomenological difference between perception and cognition. In this paper, I argue that there is in fact no obvious account of this difference. I consider three main approaches: in terms of high-level vs. low-level contents, of conceptual vs. nonconceptual content, and of propositional vs. objectual content. After arguing against each, I conclude by considering the phenomenal-intentionalist’s options moving forward.

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Uriah Kriegel
Rice University


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