Johannes L. Brandl


The fact that we have thoughts about things is a salient feature of our mental life. In phenomenology this feature goes by the name intentionality, while cognitive psychologists prefer to speak of the representational power of the mind. Where does this power come from? It is generally agreed today that one attempt at answering this question has thoroughly failed. The power of mental representation (i.e. intentionality) cannot be explained as a feature of language. Many philosophers have therefore turned to a more promising project, namely to explain intentionality in information-theoretic terms. This project, too, has come under attack however. Such reductive explanations fail, it is argued, because they leave out the constitutive relation between intentionality and experience. If intentionality can be explained at all, it must be grounded in a primitive non-relational feature of our experience. In this paper I will take up this adverbialist challenge to an information-theoretic explanation of intentionality and show how it can be met.


20th century philosophy; philosophy; philosophy of mind; Wittgenstein Ludwig; cognitive phenomenology; experience; informational semantics; intentionality; phenomenological semantics

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