Primer, proposal, and paradigm: A review essay of Mendelovici’s The Phenomenal Basis of Intentionality

Philosophical Psychology 32 (8):1246-1260 (2019)
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Angela Mendelovici’s book The Phenomenal Basis of Intentionality is a paradigm-establishing monograph within the phenomenal intentionality research program. Mendelovici argues that extant theories of intentionality that do not appeal to consciousness are both empirically and metaphysically inadequate, and a coherent, consciousness-based alternative can adequately explain (or explain away) all alleged cases of intentionality. While I count myself a fellow traveler, I discuss four choice-points where Mendelovici has taken, I believe, the wrong fork. (1) The explanatory relation that holds between intentional and phenomenal properties is not identity but realization. (2) The mechanism that generates derivatively representational states is not content self-ascription but neural re-wiring. (3) The source of semantic structure within phenomenal-intentional states is not external structure and/or second-order co-instantiation but primitive phenomenal ascription. (4) The mode of presence of contents within phenomenal-intentional states is not being part of a superficial characterization, but being monadically present as an intentional object.

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Phil Woodward
Niagara University


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