The extended mind argument against phenomenal intentionality

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 21 (4):747-774 (2021)
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This paper offers a novel argument against the phenomenal intentionality thesis (or PIT for short). The argument, which I'll call the extended mind argument against phenomenal intentionality, is centered around two claims: the first asserts that some source intentional states extend into the environment, while the second maintains that no conscious states extend into the environment. If these two claims are correct, then PIT is false, for PIT implies that the extension of source intentionality is predicated upon the extension of phenomenal consciousness. The argument is important because it undermines an increasingly prominent account of the nature of intentionality. PIT has entered the philosophical mainstream and is now a serious contender to naturalistic views of intentionality like the tracking theory and the functional role theory (Loar 1987, 2003; Searle 1990; Strawson 1994; Horgan and Tienson 2002; Pitt 2004; Farkas 2008; Kriegel 2013; Montague 2016; Bordini 2017; Forrest 2017; Mendelovici 2018). The extended mind argument against PIT challenges the popular sentiment that consciousness grounds intentionality.

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Cody Turner
University of Notre Dame


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