Brentanist Relations

  • Richard B. Arnaud
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series in Philosophy book series (PSSP, volume 4)


A single passage from Franz Brentano’s Psychology From an Empirical Standpoint has, in the century since its publication, spawned more than its share of mythological beasts, mathematical monsters and philosophical treatises. It runs:

... Every mental phenomenon is characterized by what the scholastics of of the Middle Ages called the intentional (and also mental) inexistence (Inexistenz) of an object (Gegenstand), and what we could call, although in not entirely unambiguous terms, the reference to a content, a direction upon an object (by which we are not to understand a reality in this case), or an immanent objectivity. Each one includes something as object within itself, although not always in the same way. In presentation something is presented, in judgment something is affirmed or denied, in love [something is] loved, in hate [something] hated, in desire [something] desired, etc.

This intentional inexistence is exclusively characteristic of mental phenomena. No physical phenomenon manifests anything similar. Consequently, we can define mental phenomena by saying that they are such phenomena as include an object intentionally within themselves.1


Propositional Attitude Relational Account Mental Phenomenon Finitary Basis Proper Sense 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht-Holland 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard B. Arnaud
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MinnesotaUSA

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