سخنرانی دکتر محمد آزادپور با عنوان «حیث التفاتی و علوم طبیعی» (Intentionality and Natural Sciences)

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سخنرانی دکتر محمد آزادپور با عنوان «حیث التفاتی و علوم طبیعی» (Intentionality and Natural Sciences)
حکمت و فلسفه: سخنرانی آقای دکتر محمد آزادپور (استاد دانشگاه ایالتی سانفرانسیسکو) با عنوان Intentionality and the Natural Sciences روز یکشنبه ۴ بهمن ۱۳۹۴ در جمع اعضای هیئت علمی مؤسسه برگزار شد.

سخنرانی آقای دکتر محمد آزادپور (استاد دانشگاه ایالتی سانفرانسیسکو) با عنوان Intentionality and the Natural Sciences  روز یکشنبه  4 بهمن  1394 در جمع اعضای هیئت علمی مؤسسه برگزار شد. در این جلسه که جمعی از اعضای هیأت علمی و دانشجویان دکتری مؤسسۀ پژوهشی حکمت و فلسفۀ ایران حضور داشتند، پس از پایان سخنرانی آقای دکتر آزادپور، جلسه با پرسش و پاسخ و گفتگو با ایشان ادامه یافت.

 

INTENTIONALITY AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES

Dr. Mohammad Azadpur
Department of Philosophy
San Francisco State University

Item 1: Brentano on intentionality
Every mental phenomenon is characterized by what the Scholastics of the Middle Ages called the intentional (or mental) inexistence of an object, and what we might call, though not wholly unambiguously, reference to a content, direction toward an object (which is not to be understood here as meaning a thing), or immanent objectivity. Every mental phenomenon includes something as object within itself, although they do not all do so in the same way. In presentation something is presented, in judgment something is affirmed or denied, in love loved, in hate hated, in desire desired, and so on. This intentional in-existence is characteristic exclusively of mental phenomena. No physical phenomenon exhibits anything like it. We could, therefore, define mental phenomena by saying that they are those phenomena which contain an object intentionally within themselves[1].

Item 2: Three main characteristics of intentionality[1].

1) Mental phenomenon is about or directed towards an object. To put it in the terminology of more recent scholarship, “to have intentionality is to have (semantic) content”[3].  The aboutness of a mental phenomenon is determined by the content (the linguistic that-clause) of that phenomenon (the propositional attitude). For example, the content of my belief that the author of Ishārāt wa-l-tanbīhāt is a genius is “the author of Ishārāt wa-l-tanbīhāt is a genius.” The content determines the object; it is not the same as the object. If two mental states have the same content, they are about the same object, that is, the same state of affairs. But if they have the same object, they do not necessarily have the same content (i.e., “the author of Ishārāt wa-l-tanbīhāt is a genius” and “Avicenna is a genius”).
2) Objects of mental phenomena are characterized by intentional inexistence. In other words, that which the mental phenomenon is about need not exist extra-mentally (i.e., it may have a purely mental existence). For example, the intentional status of my belief that Avicenna was born in Afshana is not affected if Avicenna had never lived and Afshana was never built.
3) Intentionality is the distinctive mark of the mental, that is, only mental phenomena have intrinsic intentionality. Now a sign, a sentence, or a picture may also be about an object, but their intentionality apparently is derivative and inherited from the original intentionality of thoughts.
Item 3: Sellars’s psychological nominalism: intentionality of mental states (i.e., the aboutness of thoughts) is derived from the meaningfulness of overt linguistic utterances[4].

Item 4: Sellars defines truth as the propriety of assertion: “for a proposition to be true is for it to be assertible ... correctly assertible, that is, in accordance with the relevant semantical rules and on the basis of such additional, though unspecified, information as these rules may require”[5].  True propositional contents, in Sellars’s account, permit the performance of corrrect assertions.
Item 5: About the so-called isomorphism between overt verbal utterances and the real order, Sellars evokes picturing, which he distinguishes from signifying or representing: “Picturing is a relation between items both of which belong to the real order, signification is a relation between items both of which belong to the order of signification”[6].  The real order is what I have also called the natural order, the order of causal regularities, not the order of normative proprieties. The order of normative proprieties emerges holistically, for Sellars, from the causal order, but the contents of overt linguistic utterances also picture the real order. Such picturing is between elements in the real order and can improve by scientific interference.

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[1].Franz Brentano, Psychology From an Empirical Standpoint, ed. and trans. L. McAlister (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1995), pp. 88–89.

[2].I have isolated these with the help of two sources: 1) the article by Pierre Jacob, titled “Intentionality,” in Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008): http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/ entries/intentionality, and 2) John Haugeland’s “Intentionality All-Stars,” in Philosophical Perspectives, 4: 1990.

[3].Haugeland “Intentionality All-Stars,” p. 384

[4].“all awareness... is a linguistic affair,” Sellars, Empiricism and Philosophy of Mind (Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1997), p. 63.

[5].Sellars, Science and Metaphysics (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968), p. 101.

[6].Sellars, “Being and Being Known,” In Science, Perception, and Reality (Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview. 1963), p. 56.