Volume 2, Issue 2, Fall 2008
Todd D. Janke
Making Room for Bodily Intentionality
The recived view in contemporary philosophy of action, inspired and sustained largely by Donald Davidson and his followers, holds that an action is intentional if and only if it is caused in the right way by beliefs and desires. In what follows below I discuss Merleau-Ponty’s account of bodily intentionality, with the aim of showing that it offers us an account of a form of intentional behavior that cannot be understood in terms of causally efficacious mental states like beliefs or desires. the aim, in short, is to show that, however things may stand with other forms of intentional behavior (deliberate action, for example), bodily intentional behavior is autonomously intentional --- it doesn’t derive its intentionality from the intentionality of mental states.