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Lenz

Intentionality without Objectivity


ISBN: 978-3-88405-519-9

Price: €8.00 (including 19 % tax)


Although we commonly take our thoughts to be about external things that exist independently of ourselves, Spinoza’s notion of intentionality suggests that our ideas are primarily about our own bodies. What are we to make of this somewhat revisionary tenet? Do our thoughts never reach out to the things them-selves? This paper attempts to reconstruct Spinoza’s notion of intentionality in two steps. Firstly, I will place his position in the larger context of his metaphysical tenets and discuss how his theory of ideas provides an explanation of intentional content. Secondly, I will address the question of how Spinoza accounts for what we customarily take to be thoughts about external things as such. I shall argue that, for Spinoza, intentional content always involves propositional attitudes which are ultimately governed by our striving for self-preservation (conatus). In accentuating the links between his theory of propositional attitudes and his conatus principle, I hope to show how he challenges the traditional view of intentionality as grasping objects in a mind-independent world in favour of the thesis that we represent things as they are beneficial to us.


 





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