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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 60, Issue 1, March 2020

Hao Liu
Pages 23-36

Intentional Directedness and Immanent Content
Aristotle and Brentano on Intentionality

This paper will investigate the roots of intentionality in Aristotle’s theory of perception and assess the accuracy of Brentano’s proposed location of intentionality in Aristotle. When introducing intentionality into contemporary philosophy, Brentano attributed it to Aristotle, whose theory of psychology he believed to reveal the characteristics of intentional inexistence. After setting up a working definition of intentionality that stresses such features as immanent content and intentional directedness, I will then clarify Aristotle’s theory of perception with regard to these two characteristics. I draw the conclusion that we can only find the roots of immanent content in Aristotle’s perceptual theory. For him, directedness moves from the sensible object to the sensitive soul, and thus it does not correspond to what contemporary philosophers define as intentional directedness.

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