Universiteit Leiden

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The Roots of Intentionality in Aristotle´s Theory of Psychology

The relevance of intentionality to the interpretation of Aristotle was first suggested by Brentano in his Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint. Here we take our starting point from Brentano and investigate how Brentano’s concept of intentionality is rooted in Aristotle.

08 May 2020

Most importantly, what does it mean for our understanding of Aristotle’s psychology if we approach his theory with the modern notion of intentionality in mind? Do the implications of intentionality in Aristotle reveal different aspects in Brentano’s proposal? In this dissertation, I would like to investigate the roots of intentionality in Aristotle’s psychology and make a comparison between Aristotle and Brentano on the topic of intentionality. In order to achieve this result, I will first set up a working definition of intentionality by tracing the development of “intention” along historical lines. Then I shall deal with Aristotle’s psychology—perception, phantasia, memory, dream, recollection, and intellect one by one, to survey whether any sign of intentionality is revealed in these psychic activities and how. Finally, I would like to make a comparison between Aristotle and Brentano on intentionality based on Brentano’s Aristotelian background and to survey the echo of Aristotle in modern philosophy of mind.

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