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Husserl on Intentionality as an Essential Property of Consciousness

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In the phenomenological tradition intentionality is considered to be an essential property of consciousness. Philosophers from this tradition (Brentano, Husserl, Sartre, etc.) generally share the following two commitments: (i) intentionality is an essential property of consciousness; and (ii) all intentional states are directed at, and are intentionally related to, objects. This view of consciousness has two pressing problems. Firstly, philosophers such as John Searle and David Rosenthal have suggested raw feelings and some forms of seemingly undirected and thus non-intentional feelings as counterexamples to the essential intentionality of conscious states. Secondly, some analytical philosophers and Husserlian scholars inspired by Frege, such as Smith and Føllesdal, deny that every intentional state is related to a correlative object. This paper presents a Husserlian view concerning the essential intentionality of consciousness. It will be shown that both problems can be successfully dealt with from an essentially Husserlian and phenomenological perspective.


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