Prolegomena to a new theory of intentionality: Reflections on internalistic and externalistic views of the aboutness of the mind
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A mental state can be about something other than itself. So is a linguistic expression. We call aboutness of this sort the intentionality of mind and of language. Phenomena of intentionality so understood, although they are varied and heterogeneous, are prevalent in nature. Theories that purport to face them have been somewhat obscure, though. The purpose of this dissertation is to reach a clear understanding of intentionality which can provide a philosophical vision required for building a new theory of it. In fulfilling the task, the author basically endorses the idea of the naturalization of intentionality, and then presents four a posteriori conditions that a general theory of intentionality ought to meet. They are: (1) The intentionality of the mind should be analyzed in terms of relations. (2) A theory of intentionality should give an account of the parallelism between the intentionality of mind and that of language. (3) A theory of intentionality should account for the opaqueness of propositional attitudes. (4) A theory of intentionality should provide a solution to the traditional philosophical puzzles about representing non-existent entities, including the problem of misrepresentation. Bearing these conditions in mind, the author, while examining several internalistic and externalistic views of intentionality that are supposed to lay bare the real structure of intentional states, puts forward a form of level theory (or layered theory) of intentionality. The author suggests that there are different kinds, degrees, or levels of intentionality, e.g. lower-level, middle-level, and higher-level intentionalities, and this makes the varieties and heterogeneities of intentional phenomena possible. Furthermore the author proposes the idea that intentional states have a dynamical structure in such a way that an intentional state consists in the bearer of an intentional state and what the intentional state is about, and that an actual external object in the environment, a representation in the brain, and a linguistic expression in a particular natural language can be what an intentional state is about. From the perspective the author finally considers how that view of intentionality could cope with the four conditions for a general theory of intentionality mentioned above.