Brentano on Consciousness

In U. Kriegel (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Franz Brentano and the Brentano School. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 49-60 (2017)
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Consider a perceptual activity such as seeing a colour, hearing a tone, tasting a flavour. How are these activities related to one’s awareness of them? I will use Brentano’s struggle with this question to guide the reader through the development of his view on consciousness. My starting point will be Brentano’s book Die Psychologie des Aristoteles (Brentano 1867), in which he developed an inner sense view of consciousness (§§1-2). Brentano’s early view is underexplored in the literature, but crucial for understanding the development of his thought on the matter. In his major work Psychologie vom Empirischen Standpunkt (1874) he rejected the existence of an inner sense: the exercises of our five senses yield awareness of the world (or at least of intentional objects) as well as awareness of these perceptions. This same-level view of consciousness has been explored and developed by contemporary philosophers of mind. I will discuss the arguments that moved Brentano to change his mind, outline the view and, finally, respond to Husserl’s influential criticism of Brentano’s view (§§3-5).
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