Intentionality: A philosophical-cognitive approach to mental representations

Cleverson Leite Bastos, Tomas Rodolfo Drunkenmolle


This article critically analyses the notion of intentionality from several philosophical cognitive points of view. The authors argue that the notion of mental representation in the wider sense and intentionality in the narrower sense remains elusive despite accommodated paradoxes, improved semantic precision and more sophisticated strategies in dealing with intentionality. We will argue that different approaches to intentionality appear to be coherent in their inferences. However, most of them become contradictory and mutually exclusive when juxtaposed and applied to borderline questions. While the explanatory value of both philosophy of mind as well as cognitive psychology should not be underestimated, we must note that not even hard-core neuroscience has been able to pin point what is going on in our minds, let alone come up with a clear cut explanation how it works or a definition of what thought really is. To date, however, intentionality is the best of all explanatory models regarding mental representations.

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