Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

In this paper, I want to revive an idea stemming out of the Cartesian-Husserlian phenomenological tradition as regards what makes the case that something—primarily a state, but also an event, or even a property—is mental; namely, the both necessary and sufficient conditions of mentality, i.e., the mark of the mental. According to this idea, the mark of the mental is, primarily for a state, its being an experience, to be meant as the property of having a phenomenal character that makes that state phenomenally aware. I defend this idea while also endorsing its most problematic consequence; namely, that internal states, whether standing (e.g., dispositional beliefs or desires) or occurrent (subpersonal states), that are not phenomenally aware are not mental. For I try to show why this consequence is not so problematic as it seems.

In this paper, I want to revive an old proposal regarding the venerable issue of the mark of the mental, i.e., the quest for both necessary and jointly sufficient conditions in order for something—primarily a state, but also an event, or even a property—to be mental. This quest was originally revived by Brentano when he held that intentionality plays that role. First of all, however, against both Brentano and the intentionalist account stemming from him, I remind that intentionality cannot be such a mark; nor can other traditional proposals…

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