Within the Philosophy of Mind two features of our mental life have been acknowledged as the most perplexing - consciousness, the phenomenal "what it is likeness" of our mental states, and intentionality, the aboutness or directedness of our mental states. As such, it has become commonplace to develop theories about these phenomena which seek to explain them naturalistically, that is, without resort to magic or miracles. Traditionally this has been done by analyzing consciousness and intentionality apart from one another. However, in more recent years the tide has turned. In contemporary theories these phenomena are typically analyzed in terms of the other. This results in two competing views: Representationalism, which seeks to ground consciousness in intentionality, and Phenomenalism, which seeks to ground intentionality in consciousness. David Chalmers has proposed an alternative view to these which takes consciousness and intentionality as essentially interdependent, neither more fundamental than the other. This thesis explores the motivations for Representationalism and Phenomenalism, outlines their extraneous commitments, and analyzes their merits - as well as assessing whether Chalmers' view is a defensible middle ground. This involves an analysis of the metaphysical doctrine of physicalism, phenomenal consciousness, intentionality, and the nature of mental content. I argue that the view which Chalmers advocates is the best supported. Yet, I argue, it could benefit by adopting a thoroughgoing externalism of mental content.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Bell, Jordan, "The relationship between consciousness and intentionality" (2013). HIM 1990-2015. 1384.