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Grazer Philosophische Studien

Volume 5, 1978

Pages 131-138
DOI: 10.5840/gps1978525

Intentionality of Thought versus Intentionality of Desire

The work of Brentano's English contemporary J. E. McTaggart is in several ways profitable for Brentano scholars to study: I here cosider his views on the nature and classification of mental states. In McTaggart's account the characteristic of being a 'cognition', one that some but not all 'cogitations' have, corresponds to Brentano's notion of Anerkennen; quite unlike Brentano, he holds that contrariety obtains only between the contents of judgments, not between contrary acts of affirming and denying; like Brentano however he recognizes contrariety in the realm of emotion and feeling, e.g. between love and hate, pleasure and pain. He regards feelings and emotions as mere colourings of cogitations, and thinks that their relation to an object (intentionality, as Brentano would say) comes about merely from their cogitative aspect. This view is attractively simple; but by considering McTaggart's own view of emotions' being in respect of characteristics of their objects, we can find serious ground to reject it.

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