Kant on Intentionality

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<ul><li><p>Kant on IntentionalityAuthor(s): Derk PereboomSource: Synthese, Vol. 77, No. 3 (Dec., 1988), pp. 321-352Published by: SpringerStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20116596 .Accessed: 01/04/2014 15:40</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>Springer is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Synthese.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 1 Apr 2014 15:40:51 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=springerhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/20116596?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>DERK PEREBOOM </p><p>KANT ON INTENTIONALITY </p><p>If we construe Kant's theory of mental representations as a theory of intentionality, we will discover a striking contrast between Kant's </p><p>views and those of his predecessors. Whereas there is an important sense in which Hume and much of the tradition preceding him </p><p>extensionalizes intentional relations, Kant does not. Reflection on how </p><p>Kant manages to avoid extensionalism, and on his theory of in </p><p>tentionality in general, provides us with an unusual and illuminating </p><p>perspective on Kant's metaphysical and epistemological project. </p><p>1. A SUMMARY OF KANT'S VIEWS ON </p><p>INTENTIONALITY </p><p>I will first review some fairly familiar concepts in the theory of </p><p>intentionality which will be useful in understanding Kant's position. The hallmark of intentionality, according to many authors, is the </p><p>directedness of a mind towards its object (taking 'object' in the </p><p>broadest sense).1 Thinking, sensing, seeing, desiring, experiencing, </p><p>loving, and grasping, are all, or at least all can be, intentional </p><p>relations. The ones on which I want to focus, however, are the </p><p>paradigmatic relations of the mind's awareness of an object, such as </p><p>thinking and perceiving. One of Kant's projects is to provide an </p><p>account of our having intentional relations to an object whose exis </p><p>tence is apparently independent of its representations (as opposed to </p><p>mere subjective states, mental episodes that lack intentionality). In this </p><p>account, which we will examine in the next section, the notion of cause plays a central role, as it does in Kant's development of the </p><p>anti-extensionalist view of intentionality. Most intentional relations, if they capture the first person perspec </p><p>tive, can be distinguished by two characteristics which non-intentional </p><p>relations lack. In specifying that an intentional relation capture the </p><p>first person perspective, I mean to rule out Adam thinking about the </p><p>evening star being the same relation as Adam thinking about the </p><p>morning star when Adam's thought employs the concept 'the evening </p><p>Synthese 11 (1988) 321-352. ? 1988 by Kluwer Academic Publishers. </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 1 Apr 2014 15:40:51 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>322 DERK PEREBOOM </p><p>star' and he doesn't know that the evening star and the morning star are identical. The first person perspective captures what the subject thinks, believes, and knows. The two distinguishing characteristics of </p><p>typical intentional relations are these: first, they are prima facie </p><p>existence-independent - that to which a mind is intentionally related </p><p>need not exist. One can experience an oasis in a hallucination even </p><p>though the oasis does not exist, and one can think of the non-existent </p><p>present king of France. Second, intentional relations are prima facie </p><p>concept-dependent - one can be intentionally related to an object </p><p>under one concept or description which applies to it and not under </p><p>another concept or description. One may think of Venus as the </p><p>evening star and not as the morning star just as one may experience an </p><p>apple as red on the outside and not as white on the inside. What </p><p>accounts for the concept-dependent character of intentional relations </p><p>is the possibility that there are characteristics of a thing of which one </p><p>has no cognition or knowledge. From other perspectives intentional </p><p>relations might not appear to have these two characteristics. From a </p><p>different perspective, the intentional relation Eve thinking about the </p><p>river may not differ from Eve thinking about the Euphrates, supposing Eve doesn't know that the river in question is the Euphrates. But if </p><p>they capture the first person perspective, intentional relations are </p><p>typically concept-dependent and existence-independent. What seems to follow from this is that sentences which report </p><p>intentional relations capturing the first person perspective are typically not extensional, which is to say that they are intensional.2 There are </p><p>some difficulties involved in moving from discourse about intentional </p><p>relations to the semantic level, the level of discourse about sentences </p><p>reporting intentional relations. Yet I think that this move is worth </p><p>while because it allows one to link Kant's views about the concept </p><p>dependence and existence-independence of intentional relations to </p><p>perhaps a more familiar tradition in philosophy. Two conditions that </p><p>characterize extensional sentences are that in them co-referential </p><p>expressions can be substituted for one another salva veritate and that </p><p>they are subject to existential generalization. Intensional sentences </p><p>lack one or both of these conditions. Sentences which report in </p><p>tentional relations capturing the first person perspective usually don't </p><p>satisfy either of them. As sentences reporting intentional relations </p><p>capturing the first person perspective, 'Adam is thinking about the </p><p>evening star' does not imply 'Adam is thinking about the morning </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 1 Apr 2014 15:40:51 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>KANT ON INTENTIONALITY 323 </p><p>star', nor 'The evening star exists'. The sentence 'Adam is thinking about the evening star' can be assigned an extensional reading, but on </p><p>this reading there remains an obvious sense in which sentences logic </p><p>ally derivable from this one do not express what the subject believes </p><p>and knows. Following the tradition, let us call the parts of sentences </p><p>for which substitution of co-referential expressions salva veritate and </p><p>existential generalization fails intensional contexts. </p><p>What is it to explain or give a theory of intentional relations? Part of </p><p>the answer for many of the great philosophers is that such an explana tion consists in analyzing intentional relations capturing the first </p><p>person perspective as extensional, redescribing the intensional con </p><p>texts in them in such a way that the resulting sentence is extensional. </p><p>The pre-Kantian history of philosophy presents three general strate </p><p>gies for doing this. The first is the Aristotelian strategy, propounded </p><p>by Aquinas and others, according to which an intentional relation to a </p><p>thing is redescribed as two relations, the subject's apprehension or </p><p>grasp of a form, and the form's standing for the thing intended. On </p><p>Aquinas's theory, a sensory form is received by a sense organ and is </p><p>apprehended in sensation. Then the intelligible form is abstracted from </p><p>the sensible form by the intellect and is apprehended in cognition. The </p><p>form is in effect the intermediary between the subject and the object, that is, the subject is related to it and it is related to the object. Sentences accurately describing both of these relations which capture the first person perspective will thus be extensional. There is no such </p><p>thing as a non-existent form to which the subject can be related, so the </p><p>subject is never related to a non-existent object. The relation of </p><p>subject to form may be intentional in that it is a relation of ap </p><p>prehension of a mind to an object, but a proposition or sentence which </p><p>reports it, like </p><p>(1) Adam apprehends the form of the evening star. </p><p>contains no intensional context.3 Sentences describing the relation </p><p>between a form and an ordinary object are also extensional; whether it </p><p>be resemblance, sameness, or exemplification, none of these relations </p><p>have the two distinguishing features that typical intentional relations </p><p>have.4 </p><p>Another theory of intentionality of this type emerged from Aristo </p><p>telian theory in the views of Ockham and Locke. In this kind of view </p><p>the intermediary entity is not a form but a sensible idea in the mind.5 </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 1 Apr 2014 15:40:51 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>324 DERK PEREBOOM </p><p>On Locke's version of this theory sentences accurately describing the </p><p>mind's relation (the relation capturing the first person perspective) to a </p><p>Lockean idea are extensional, such as6 </p><p>(2) Adam apprehends the idea of the evening star. </p><p>The issue about the non-existence of the ideas does not arise and the </p><p>ideas themselves are the objects of immediate awareness. Ideas func </p><p>tion as concepts and the mind's awareness of them is not concept </p><p>dependent. Furthermore, sentences describing the relation between an </p><p>idea and its object are extensional: the typical relation is that of </p><p>resemblance.7 </p><p>A third and quite different theory was developed by Berkeley and </p><p>held by Hume. In this theory, again, it is true that sentences </p><p>describing the mind's relation to what it is related to, ideas or </p><p>perceptions, are extensional.8 The part of Hume's theory of in </p><p>tentionality concerning intentional relations that are not immediate awarenesses is like Locke's in that it is a resemblance theory. Ideas for </p><p>Hume are faded copies of original impressions and they represent those original impressions by resembling them (Treatise p. Iff). One cannot make mistakes about or have cognitive perspective on ideas or </p><p>indeed on any perceptions. Moreover, if one has these perceptions it is not possible that they don't exist. Finally, sentences describing the </p><p>resemblance relations between ideas and impressions are extensional. </p><p>But Hume's theory differs from Locke's for intensional relations that are immediate awarenesses in those cases in which one is having </p><p>original impressions. Impressions don't stand for or resemble ordinary </p><p>objects outside or beyond them; rather, they constitute ordinary </p><p>objects. So what is prima facie a relation between the mind and </p><p>ordinary objects that is only intensionally describable is resolved into </p><p>many relations between the mind and perceptions, relations which </p><p>don't have the distinguishing features of typical intentional relations. </p><p>So when someone is immediately aware of an object, having original </p><p>impressions, sentences accurately describing the intentional relation </p><p>(the relation which captures the first person perspective), such as </p><p>(3) Adam has this perception and this perception and this </p><p>perception, etc. (where the perceptions together constitute </p><p>Adam's perception of the evening star). </p><p>are extensional. </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 1 Apr 2014 15:40:51 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>KANT ON INTENTIONALITY 325 </p><p>There are several problems for these sorts of theories, some of </p><p>which are particularly relevant to an understanding of Kant's view. </p><p>Why do such theories count as good explanations of intentional </p><p>relations? What accounts for the rather pervasive feeling that such </p><p>theories are good explanations, given that it is not immediately obvious why positing the relevant relation of a mind to an idea or form </p><p>makes the intentional relations more perspicuous or understandable? </p><p>I'm not calling into question the positing of an entity to be or to </p><p>explain the cognitive perspective. Rather, my worry concerns the </p><p>posited entity becoming that of which we are immediately aware. An </p><p>important role of the theory of intentionality is to explain what it is to </p><p>be immediately aware of that of which we seem to be immediately aware, ordinary objects, for instance. It would seem that substituting unusual entities for the ordinary objects as the objects of immediate </p><p>awareness gives up ground. </p><p>Furthermore, there is something unsatisfactory about the fact that in </p><p>some of these theories the relation to the ordinary object turns out to </p><p>be something like resemblance or exemplification. Prima facie the </p><p>subject or mind is aware of the ordinary object in an intentional </p><p>relation. But on these theories the relation to the ordinary object is no </p><p>longer awareness. It would seem that something that we wanted to </p><p>explain - the awareness of the ordinary object </p><p>- has been lost. To these charges Locke, for instance, might give the partial reply </p><p>that immediate awareness aside, to be aware of an object is just to be aware of an idea which resembles it. But there is an implausibility to </p><p>thinking that all there is to awareness of an object is awareness of an </p><p>idea of it. At least it should be required that there be knowledge of the </p><p>idea being an idea of the relevant object. But this seems to rein </p><p>troduce the notion of awareness of an object independent of aware </p><p>ness of an idea of it, so it would seem as if the account is in trouble as </p><p>it stands. This same problem can be constructed for an Aristotelian </p><p>theory. </p><p>Kant's anti-extensionalism is manifested in his resistance to eli </p><p>minating both existence-independence and concept-dependence, which we will examine in detail in Section 3. Here I present a </p><p>preliminary gloss on the view. For Kant, what we are immediately aware of in typical intentional relations are the contents of intuitions, some of which are real or, we might say, exist, and others of which are </p><p>not real, or do not exist. One might thus expect Kant to eliminate </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 1 Apr 2014 15:40:51 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>326 DERK PEREBOOM </p><p>existence-independence, roughly in the way that Hume does for </p><p>immediate awarenesses. But Kant makes the distinction between real </p><p>and unreal contents of intuitions, using the notion of causal coherence. </p><p>Kant also does not attempt to eliminate concept-dependence. He </p><p>advances none of the three main strategies for extensionalizing it. </p><p>That he makes no use of Aristotelian forms in his account of in </p><p>tentional relations indicates that he fails to endorse the first kind of </p><p>theory. Although concepts are a kind of form for Kant,...</p></li></ul>


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