Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind

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Cambridge University Press, May 31, 1983 - Philosophy - 278 pages
3 Reviews
John Searle's Speech Acts (1969) and Expression and Meaning (1979) developed a highly original and influential approach to the study of language. But behind both works lay the assumption that the philosophy of language is in the end a branch of the philosophy of the mind: speech acts are forms of human action and represent just one example of the mind's capacity to relate the human organism to the world. The present book is concerned with these biologically fundamental capacities, and, though third in the sequence, in effect it provides the philosophical foundations for the other two. Intentionality is taken to be the crucial mental phenomenon, and its analysis involves wide-ranging discussions of perception, action, causation, meaning, and reference. In all these areas John Searle has original and stimulating views. He ends with a resolution of the 'mind-body' problem.

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John Searle is one of the greatest philosophers of our times. This book forms the basis of much of his work on the Philosophy of Mind. With this book, then "The Construction of Social Reality" and then "Rationality in Action" he sets out the logical foundations for the "Science of Consciousness" that will likely be etched out, finally, in the coming century as neurobiology matures.
Intellectually descended from Wittgenstein and Hume, Searle is one of the leaders of the Analytic tradition in philosophy of the late 20th century.
He is more famous for his "Chinese Room Argument". This is not presented in the book, but it is what his main detractors hold against him. His main detractors are computer programmers who want digital computers to be considered conscious. However, Searle lays out common sense arguments that lay out the distinction between being conscious and simulating consciousness. This book lays out part of the argument in the differences of "direction of fit" in Intentions and Intentionality, exposing on how our brains aren't just syntax, but also consider the *meaning* of phrases, symbols, objects, etc...
For further information see The Teaching Company lectures he produced which are the most accessible introduction to the philosophy of mind.

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User Review  - praymont - LibraryThing

An important and influential work on the nature of intentional states. Read full review

Selected pages


The nature of Intentional states
The Intentionality of perception
Intention and action
Intentional causation
The Background
Intensional reports of Intentional states and speech acts
Are meaning in the head?
Proper names and Intentionality
Epilogue Intentionality and the brain
Subject Index
Name Index

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