Topoi

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 31–43 | Cite as

Intentionality, Cognitive Integration and the Continuity Thesis

Article

Abstract

Naturalistic philosophers ought to think that the mind is continuous with the rest of the world and should not, therefore, be surprised by the findings of the extended mind, cognitive integration and enactivism. Not everyone is convinced that all mental phenomena are continuous with the rest of the world. For example, intentionality is often formulated in a way that makes the mind discontinuous with the rest of the world. This is a consequence of Brentano’s formulation of intentionality, I suggest, and can be overcome by revealing that the concept of intentional directedness as he receives it from the Scholastics is quite consistent with the continuity thesis. It is only when intentional directedness is conjoined with intentional inexistence that intentionality and content are consistent with a discontinuity thesis (such as Brentano’s thesis). This makes room to develop an account of intentional directedness that is consistent with the continuity thesis in the form of Peirce’s representational principle. I also argue against a form of the discontinuity thesis in the guise of the derived/underived content distinction. Having shown that intentionality is consistent with the continuity thesis I argue that we should focus on intentionality and representation as bodily enacted. I conclude that we would be better off focussing on representation and intentionality in action rather than giving abstract functional accounts of extended cognition.

Keywords

Cognitive integration Enactivism Extended mind Intentionality Intentional directedness Naturalism Representation 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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