Intentionality and Reference: A Brentanian Distinction

The Monist 100 (1):120-132 (2017)
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Brentano distinguishes between intentionality and reference. According to Brentano, all mental acts are intentionally directed toward something. Some mental acts also refer to something, which is the case when their object exists in reality. For Brentano, such acts, besides their intentionality, have a peculiar relation of similarity to their object. However, there is no mention of Brentano’s distinction between intentionality and reference in the literature. Drawing on some lesser known texts, this paper aims both at showing that Brentano makes such a distinction and at underscoring the philosophical significance of his position.
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