Philosophia Christi

Volume 13, Issue 1, 2011

Dallas Willard
Pages 7-19

Intentionality and the Substance of the Self

The aim of this paper is to provide a way of thinking about the human self or person that does not simply lose it in the objects of its experiences, but gives it substance in terms of those experiences themselves. They are characteristically “of ” or “about” objects—a feature called “intentionality.” After discussing some well-known failures (largely Empiricist) to capture the self without intentionality, I sketch Husserl’s presentation of consciousness and life as a massive totality of synchronic and diachronic intentionalities that allows us to understand what persons actually do, for example, in mastering fields of research or leading a moral life.