The Relationship Between Consciousness and Intentionality

Outline: Consciousness and intentionality are two essential features of mental phenomena. We can say that consciousness is the subjective aspect and intentionality is the objective aspect of the mind. When one is in an experience, one is always conscious of what it is like to be in that experience, philosophers call it phenomenal consciousness. At the same time, the experience is always about things, objects, or states of affairs, something which objectively present in the external world. This aboutness or directedness of mind to things is referred to as intentionality. The co-instantiation of consciousness and intentionality in experiences is significant to the question whether there is a relationship between them. There is a view which believes that consciousness has nothing to do with intentionality. This is called separatism. In this paper, I will maintain that separatism is wrong and will try to show how anti-separatist theories (that is intentionalist theories) now dominant in contemporary analytic philosophy of mind explaining their relationship. One type of anti-separatist theories argue that intentionality is ontologically prior to consciousness, and that consciousness is derived from intentionality, let us call it intentionality primitivism. The other contends that consciousness is more essential to mind, arguing that intentionality cannot be understood independently of their relation to phenomenally conscious states or events, let us call it consciousness primitivism. On one hand, the problem of intentionality primitivism is that it cannot explain some putative objectless mental state, mood for instance, in which intentionality is absent while a strong phenomenal character is experienced. On the other hand, the problem of consciousness primitivism is that it seems there are intentional states such as propositional attitude states which are believed to have no phenomenal character at all. At the end of this paper, by rejecting separatism, I would like to argue that consciousness primitivism gives a more plausible account to the relationship between consciousness and intentionality. Table of content: 1. Consciousness and intentionality 2. Separatism vs intentionalism 3. Intentionality primitivism 4. Consciousness primitivism 5. Mood – an objectless mental state? 6. The phenomenology of propositional attitudes 7. Conclusion Important Note: Please use this link ( and theattached files as the main source of reference.

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