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Friday, January 28, 2011

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Your argument is designed to show there is a puzzle that is as yet unresolved, but there is a crucial step where you argueas follows

“If Tom is thinking of a mermaid, and there are no mermaids, then Tom is both thinking of something and not thinking of something. Tom's thought has an object and it does not have an object. It has an object because no one can think without thinking of something. It does not have an object because there are no mermaids. So we have at least an apparent contradiction”.

You resolve this contradiction by the distinction between ‘intentional’ and ‘real’ objects, which as you correctly point out carries other problems. But I need to stop you at the point where you apparently make the following inference.

Tom is thinking of a mermaid
No one can think without thinking of something
Therefore, Tom’s thinking has an object

I’ve already pointed out a few times that this inference is questionable. We have already agreed that at the very heart of the problem is the distinction between ‘intentional verbs’ like ‘is thinking of’, ‘is looking for’ and the like, and non-intentional verbs like ‘owns’, ‘lives in’, ‘is to the left of’ and so on. Your inference above contains a premiss with an intentional verb: ‘is thinking of’. Yet you have an apparently non-intentional verb ‘has’ in the conclusion. I agree with you if the conclusion were ‘Tom is thinking of something’. But how do you get from ‘Tom is thinking of something’ to ‘Tom’s thinking has an intentional object’?

Even if the verb ‘has’ is intentional, you need to give an argument for this. And in any case there is strong evidence that it is non-intentional. Indeed our whole disagreement depends on this. Consider

(*) Tom is thinking of a mermaid, but there are no mermaids
(**) Tom’s thinking has an intentional object, but there are no intentional objects

We both agree that the first sentence is true, for it is an assumption that runs through your whole argument. What about the second? Given that we disagree that there are intentional objects – I say there aren’t, you say there are, and given that you hold that (in the case above) it is true that Tom’s thinking has an intentional object, it follows that you disagree with (**). If’s Tom’s thinking has an intentional object, Phoenicians infer that there there are intentional objects. Therefore Phoenicians hold that ‘has’ is a non-intentional verb. But if they do, how do they justify the inference from a proposition with intentional verb to proposition with non-intentional verb?

Specifically, how do you justify “Tom is thinking of something, therefore Tom’s thinking has an intentional object” ?

>> But how do you get from ‘Tom is thinking of something’ to ‘Tom’s thinking has an intentional object’?<<

I figured you'd ask that question. It's a fair question. Tom's thinking is a mental act. I assume you are familiar with talk of mental acts. (Geach has a book by that very title.) The act may be an act of desire or expectation or imagination, etc. But there is more to a particular mental act than that. There is also what could be called the content, that which gives the act the SPECIFIC directedness that it has. Every act is object-directed by its very nature as a mental act, but there can be different directednesses even if the type of act remains the same. Thus imagining a centaur is different from imagining a winged horse.

Whatever terminology we choose, we need to distinguish between the act, as a particular occurrence at a particular time, and its content. If I imagine a winged horse at noon and do so again ten minutes later, then the content is the same but the acts are numerically different. There are two numerically different acts of the same type or quality (imagination); both acts are object-directed just in virtue of being acts; but the specific directednesses are different because the contents are different.

Phenomenologically, the content is before my mind in a manner to warrant calling this content an object of thought, or intentional object. Try imagining something. Does it not appear before your mind? 'Intentional object' seems to be exactly the right term. It is the intentum coresponding to the intentio, the cogitatum corresponding to the cogitatio. But it is a cogitatum qua cogitatum. In other words, the intentional object is immanent to the act: it has all and only the properties ascribed to it in the act.

So if Tom is thinking of something, then his thinking is directed to an intentional object. To avoid this, you might try an adverbial approach. You must grant that there is SOME distinction between act and content, but you could try to construe that content as an adverbial modification of the activity of thinking. Thus Tom's thinking of a centaur is Tom's thinking centaur-ly.

But this approach seems ruled out by the phenomenology of the situation.

>> If’s Tom’s thinking has an intentional object, Phoenicians infer that there there are intentional objects.<<

The datum is that every act of thinking is directed to an object that may or may not exist. But one needn't infer that there are in extramental reality intentional objects in addition to real objects. One could hold that intentional objects do not exist in themselves but only in mental acts as their accusatives. That would make them immanent to the act as Brentano said in the famous passage I quoted a while back. He spoke of the intentional inexistence of the object.

>>The datum is that every act of thinking is directed to an object that may or may not exist.

I think you missed the point again. The question is, which of the following three statements are inconsistent.I will guess from what you have said before that you think the first is not inconsistent, but that the third is. What about the second? Is it inconsistent or not? Simple yes/no required here.

(*) Tom is thinking of a mermaid, but there are no mermaids
(**) Tom’s thinking has an intentional object, but there are no intentional objects
(***) Tom owns a unicorn, but there are no unicorns.

There is a trap here, as you can surely see.

On your first (phenomenogical) argument, I didn't follow it at all. I agree that when I picture a unicorn or a winged horse, then my act has a content. But this is just a mental image. To me, anyway. I can entertain the idea of a unicorn without believing there actually is a unicorn. All I am left with is the idea of a unicorn. And that is not the same as a unicorn, if there were one.

The first sentence is plainly consistent. The third is plainly inconsistent. That you pose the second shows that you don't understand what an intentional object is.

Thomas Reid had already understood that when one thinks of a unicorn one is not thinking of a mental image, but of an animal.

In the paper that Ockham referred us to Tim Crane suggests that we should regard

S thinks about X
as equivalent to
S is in some conscious state of mind which represents X.
I suggest that we regard this as equivalent to
S has an X-thought.
Here the 'has' is fully relational and non-intentional, as in 'S has indigestion'. This brings out both the relational quality that Bill's original triad expresses, plus the sense that thoughts have contents, without, I hope, falling foul of the Okhamist strictures. Similar translations for other intentional verbs look feasible: 'Tom wants a sloop' becomes 'Tom has a sloop-want'. Interesting questions arise:
Is an X-want an X-thought?
If an X is a Y does 'Tom has an X-thought' imply 'Tom has a Y-thought'?
Need we distinguish between definite and indefinite---the-X-thought versus an-X-thought?
How does an X-thought 'latch on' to an X (the problem of reference/directness)?

The problem, I fear, is that Bill will feel that talk of X-thoughts insufficiently captures the sense of other-directness inherent in intentional states. My program would be to try to develop a theory of X-thoughts and if this is acheived, then ask the question, What does this leave out? This strategy is analogous, perhaps, to attempts to undermine qualia. But attempts to address these problems head-on, as it were, seem doomed to failure, and a less direct approach may teach us something interesting. After all, in formulating the problem as he does, Bill admits that he has reached an aporia, a dead-end. When confronted by a briar-patch, go round it.

David,

You have correctly anticipated what my objection would be. As you suggest, intentional states are other-directed: they refer beyond themselves to items that are (i) not part of the state in question, (ii) need not be, and typically are not, mental in nature, and (iii) need not exist. Thus I can think about the Grand Canyon even though it is not in my head or in my mind, not mental in nature but physical, and such that its existence does not follow from my thinking of it.

Intentionality cannot be something that plays out within a mind as a relation that connects the subject of thinking with a mental representation. That would invite the question as to what makes my representation of Peter a representation of Peter, and we would be back to square one. If I want to know what makes my thinking of Peter a thinking OF PETER, it does no good to say that this is made possible by my having a Peter-thought. For when we unpack what that means we confront the question of what makes a Peter-thought OF PETER.

And of course if Tom wants a unicorn (which does not exist), then this cannot mean that he stands in the relation of wanting to a unicorn-thought (which DOES exist).

David's suggestion about X-thoughts and X-wants seems akin to the adverbial approach mentioned by Bill, but then ruled out for phenomenological reasons. I'd appreciate it if Bill would expand a bit on this, since I find the adverbial approach quite plausible. What is it about the phenomenology of intentionality that I'm missing?

Also, although I think the aboutness of intentionality probably plays some role in establishing reference, I don't think it can be the whole story. Maybe thinking-Peterly is just representing a possible Peter, and my thought only manages to refer if Peter plays some role in causing me to think-Peterly.

>>The first sentence is plainly consistent. The third is plainly inconsistent. That you pose the second shows that you don't understand what an intentional object is.

Obviously I don't. And I am not being rhetorical. But the question was whether the sentence was inconsistent or not. Here is the sentence again.

(**) Tom’s thinking HAS an intentional object, but there are no intentional objects

Is the main verb 'has', that I have put in bold capital letters, operating as an intentional verb (like the 'thinking of' in the first sentence above), or a non-intentional verb, like 'owns'?

To be clear, I define an intentional verb Ri as follows

(Intentional verb) 'a Ri some F' does not imply 'something is F'

and a non-intentional where the implication does hold

(Non-intentional verb) 'a Ri some F' does imply 'something is F'

So again my question to you is whether the 'has' in the second sentence above is intentional, as defined, or not. If the sentence is inconsistent, 'has' is non-intentional. Otherwise not.

The difficulty for you is that if 'has' is non-intentional, you need to justify the inference from 'Tom is thinking of a mermaid' to 'Toms thinking has an intentional object'. For the inference involves the move from an intentional to non-intentional verb. It may be justified, but you need to justify it, and you haven't. This is elementary.

Bill >>Try imagining something. Does it not appear before your mind?

No. If I try to imagine a mermaid, I have an image of a mermaid, and that's about all. Note that 'has an image of' an intentional verb. One can have an image of a mermaid although nothing is a mermaid. But 'has' is non-intentional. If one has an image of a mermaid, it follows that something is the image of a mermaid. Perhaps this is where the confusion arises.

* 'Has an image of' is an intentional verb
* 'Has' is a non-intentional verb

Bill >>Thomas Reid had already understood that when one thinks of a unicorn one is not thinking of a mental image, but of an animal.

Of course, and nothing I say contradicts this. Similarly, when I have an image of a mermaid, I am not having an image of an image of a mermaid. When I have the thought of a unicorn, what I have is the thought, and the thought exists. I also have-the-thought-of a unicorn, but no unicorn exists.

Please explain what is the problem here?

I've commented further here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2011/01/reid-on-intentionality.html, on the "Thomas Reid" argument.

All I am asking for is a reasonably coherent justification of the move from

(*) Tom is thinking of a unicorn

to

(**) Tom's thinking has an intentional object.

I don't think that is too much to ask.

(a) Suppose per EO there are no things such as intentional objects. Suppose per EO intentional states do not have the property of being directed, being of, or about anything at all. Suppose intentional states are a state of someone akin to the state of having a certain weight, height, or mass.

(b)Now consider this:

(A1) John believes his car keys are in the house;
(A2) John wants to find his car keys;
(A3) John thinks that searching the house will result in finding the car keys;
Therefore*,
(A4) John is searching the house for his car keys.

(Note: The asterisk accompanying the ‘therefore’ indicates that the relationship between (A1)-(A3), on the one hand, and (A4), on the other, is a causal explanation.)

(c) (A4) describes a behavior John exhibits. We may ask: What sort of behavior does John exhibit? We may call his behavior a ‘searching-for-car-keys’ sort of behavior. And where does John exhibit the searching-for-car-keys behavior? In the house, of course. And how do we explain that John exhibits a searching-for-car-keys behavior and that he does so in the house? Well, we appeal to things such as (A1)-(A3). But, why do we appeal to (A1)-(A3) in order to explain (A4)? What properties do (A1)-(A3) feature so that they explain (A4)? Now, if we think of (A1)-(A3) as intentional states that are directed towards car keys and a house, etc., then the above explanation makes sense. The reason John is searching for his car key in the house is because he wants to find them and he believes that the car keys are in the house. John’s intentional states expressed by (A1)-(A3) can play a role in explaining John’s searching behavior in the world because we construe these intentional states as directed towards the world.

(d) But now suppose we leave (A1)-(A3) intact and replace (A4) with (A4*):

(A4*) John is searching the garden for his mother.

The set of sentences (A1)-(A4*) no longer serves as an adequate explanation. Why? Because John’s searching the garden for his mother is completely unrelated to his wants and believes as expressed by (A1), (A2), and (A3).

(e) Now, if we were to follow EO’s views about intentional states as stated in (a) above, then we could not explain why (A1)-(A4) exhibits an adequate explanation, whereas (A1)-(A4*) does not. Why is that? Well suppose we agree per EO that there are no intentional objects and that intentional states do not feature the property of being directed towards, being of, or about something and that intentional states are akin to the state of having a certain weight, height, or mass. Then it would be impossible to distinguish between the adequate explanation (A1)-(A4), on the one hand, and the inadequate explanation (A1)-(A4*), on the other, in terms of the directedness of John’s intentional states towards his car keys and the house versus his mother and the garden.

(f) In fact, unless we think of intentional states as having the property of being directed towards, being of, or about something, it is unclear why beliefs, desires, seeking, etc., should have a special role when it comes to explaining the behavior of individuals in the world. Now EO may wish to follow Eliminative Materialism a la` the Churchlands and propose to dismiss the whole apparatus of beliefs, desires, and so forth as a myth. To this way out I say: EO good luck! O/w he better show us how intentional states are relevant to explaining behavior without being directed towards something.


Bob,

Thanks for your comment. I'm planning a post on adjectival and adverbial approaches. How to integrate causal considerations with first-person phenomenological considerations is fiendishly difficult.

>>All I am asking for is a reasonably coherent justification of the move from

(*) Tom is thinking of a unicorn

to

(**) Tom's thinking has an intentional object.<<

I thought I answered this above in the second comment in this thread. Part of the problem is that I don't know what's bugging you. Every mental act is object-directed. So Tom's mental act at time t is object-directed. The intentional object is that to which Tom's mental act is directed, in this case, a unicorn.

Perhaps your problem arises from not realizing that 'object' has more than one sense. Have you read Anscombe's "The Intentionality of Sensation"? That paper begins with an explanation of the two main senses.

An intentional object does not exist on its own. It exists precisely as the correlate of the act with all and only the properties ascribed to it in the act. To borrow a phrase from Roman Ingarden, the intentional object has an 'ontically heteronomous' status.

If you have a problem with the very idea of an intentional object, then you ought to baulk at 'Tom is thinking of something' given that this is not equivalent to 'Something is such that Tom is thinking of it.'

EO has been repeatedly arguing that because a certain form of inference is invalid, Intentionalists cannot maintain that intentional-objects exist. The inference in question is illustrated by argument A below:

(1) John seeks the golden mountain;
Therefore,
(2) There is a golden mountain which John seeks.

So far as I can discern, EO’s objection against intentional-objects has a negative version and a positive version.

(a) The Negative Version: According to the negative version, EO maintains that Intentionalists infer the existence of intentional-objects by relying implicitly and without realizing it upon invalid inferences such as argument A. However, once the fact that Intentionalists rely upon such invalid inferences in order to posit the existence of intentional-objects is made explicit, Intentionalists will be deprived of the only means to argue on behalf of the existence of intentional-objects.

(b) The Positive Version: According to the positive version, the fact that inferences of type A are invalid *entails* that intentional-objects do not exist.

The negative version of EO’s argument is extremely unlikely to be correct. After all everyone, including Intentionalists, repeatedly state that inferences of the type A are invalid. How can they not realize that their commitment to the existence of intentional-objects depends upon such inferences? Moreover, Bill has repeatedly made a case on behalf of intentional-objects without ever relying upon an inference of type A. And I have yet to see a cogent argument made by EO that Bill’s case on behalf of intentional-objects somehow dependents upon a hidden inference of type A. So I think that the Negative Version of EO’s argument cannot be right.

What about the positive version of the argument? The positive version certainly cannot be correct. For if it were correct, then it would have been very easy to deny the existence of any category of objects based on the invalidity of arguments similar to A. Consider the following type of arguments:

(3) John believes that a number greater than two exists;
Therefore,
(4) There exists a number such that John believes of this number that it is greater than two.

Clearly, the inference (3)-(4) is invalid. Are we to infer from the invalidity of this inference that a number greater than two does not exist or that numbers do not exist? Surely inferring such a conclusion from the mere invalidity of the above inference is ludicrous. Moreover, merely because an inference is invalid it does not follow that the conclusion is false. Therefore, the positive version of EO’s objection is untenable and it is based on confusion.

Since I cannot see any other way of interpreting EO’s objection except in the above two ways and since both of these ways are untenable, I do not see that EO provided a cogent objection against the existence of intentional-objects that is based upon the invalidity of inferences of type A.

"Intentionalists will be deprived of the only means to argue on behalf of the existence of intentional-objects."
Why the "only means"? Aren't you attributing a false assumption to EO's argument?

Ockham's case hinges on 'has' always being non-intentional. But is this so? Consider 'Tom's plans for the new house have a bathroom in the basement', where 'plans' clearly refers to Tom's architect's drawings. I think it's fair to say that we happily use similar locutions when talking about objects with representational content. Zalta would say that the property 'has a bathroom in the basement' can be predicated in two ways. The house exemplifies the property but the plans encode the property. 'Encode' seems quite the appropriate word in this case. The two forms of predication correspond to different attributions of intentionality to the embedded verb 'has': if the predication is exemplification then the verb is non-intentional; if it is encoding then the verb is intentional.


Peter: >>EO has been repeatedly arguing that because a certain form of inference is invalid, Intentionalists cannot maintain that intentional-objects exist. The inference in question is illustrated by argument A below:
(1) John seeks the golden mountain;
Therefore,
(2) There is a golden mountain which John seeks.
[…]
everyone, including Intentionalists, repeatedly state that inferences of the type A are invalid.
<<

Yes, and that is because we all agree that ‘seeks’ is an intentional verb. (Strictly speaking, an ‘intensional transitive verb’ or ITV – note the spelling). The question is whether ‘is directed towards’ and its cognates are intentional verbs. If they are, then the inference below is invalid also, and the Intentionalist still has no argument that there are intentional objects. If they aren’t, then the inference below is valid, but then that leads to contradiction, as is easily shown.

(1a ) John’s seeking is directed towards an intentional object
Therefore,
(2a) There is an intentional object which John’s seeking is directed towards.

Bill >> I thought I answered this above in the second comment in this thread.

I read your comment more than 3 times, and I still don’t understand it. I am more comfortable with tightly argued numbered sentences, with each step rigorously justified, than the discursive approach you adopt there.

>>Part of the problem is that I don't know what's bugging you.

What’s bugging me is mainly the distinction between intentional and non-intentional verbs. You have shown no sign of taking this issue on board, or even of recognising its existence. It is deeply problematic for the Intentionalist case. Read my comments to Peter above.

David >>Ockham's case hinges on 'has' always being non-intentional.

No it doesn't. The problem is that if 'has' or 'is directed towards' is non-intentional, then obvious contradications follow. But if it is intentional, then the Intentionalist's argument that there are intentional objects is invalid. As I argued above, if 'is directed towards' is intentional, then we cannot move from

(1a ) John’s seeking is directed towards an intentional object

to

(2a) There is an intentional object which John’s seeking is directed towards.

Hi, O,
I was responding to your plea

All I am asking for is a reasonably coherent justification of the move from
(*) Tom is thinking of a unicorn
to
(**) Tom's thinking has an intentional object.
I don't think that is too much to ask.
Neither do I. The move is reasonable if the 'has' in (**) is seen as intentional, and I think this can be justified. I agree that the move to 'There is an intentional object that...' remains a move too far, unless perhaps we see 'intentional' as alienans. I'm beginning to wonder what work it does. As I see it, our problem is to understand why the Phoenicians see (**) as obviously meaningful and true.

>>unless perhaps we see 'intentional' as alienans.

That had occurred to me but unless we get a ray of light from the Phoenicians I fear we are lost in the darkness.

Didn't I already point out that 'intentional' is an alienans adjective in 'intentional object'? I'm pretty sure I said somewhere that there aren't two species of object, real and intentional.

EO,

Did not notice a response from you to my post from: Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 09:14 AM.

I am hoping to post something soon, when time permits.

>>Did not notice a response from you to my post from: Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 09:14 AM.

This is ambiguous between 'there was a response which I did not notice' and 'there was no response' (very appropriate to the current discussion. You made two comments, and I replied to the second on Monday, January 31, 2011 at 03:40 AM. I didn't reply to the first, although I read it carefully, as it seemed to have been superseded.

Your second comment was about my positive and negative arguments. I have no positive argument, merely a negative one. This one has also been partly superseded, as Bill has now confirmed that we must read the verb phrase 'is directed towards' as intentional, and therefore (for Bill) the following inference is NOT valid.

1a ) John’s seeking is directed towards an intentional object
Therefore,
(2a) There is an intentional object which John’s seeking is directed towards.

If that means Bill's position is that there are no intentional objects, then we both appear to agree! He may mean that there are other arguments. For example, in the second comment above, he argues (I think) that intentional states are object-directed, therefore there are intentional objects. But this move seems inconsistent with his position above. 'Intentional states are object-directed' clearly follows from 1a above. But since it contains no more than the antecdent, and since the consequent (according to Bill) does not follow from the antecedent, I don't know why he regards one argument as valid, and the other not.

EO,

First, I fail to see how the argument in my first post was superseded by anything anyone said in any of the subsequent threads. That argument's challenge is to explain certain phenomena without intentional objects. No one addressed this question. Therefore, the challenge stands.

Second, I do not concede any of the points you seem to think Bill conceded. In particular, I do not, nor have I ever, conceded that the argument instantiated by your (1a)-(2a) is invalid. For obviously, if there are intentional objects, then such arguments have to be valid. However, having said that, I of course agree that arguments of the form:

1) John is seeking the golden mountain;
Therefore,
2) There is a golden mountain John is seeking.

are invalid. I simply deny that arguments of the form (1a)-(2a) are the same as arguments of the form (1)-(2). You and others simply assumed that arguments of the form (1a)-(2a) are the same as arguments of the form (1)-(2). They are not the same. And if they are not the same, then (1a)-(2a) may be valid even if (1)-(2) is not.

EO,

>>First, I fail to see how the argument in my first post was superseded by anything anyone said in any of the subsequent threads. That argument's challenge is to explain certain phenomena without intentional objects. No one addressed this question. Therefore, the challenge stands.

OK.

>>Second, I do not concede any of the points you seem to think Bill conceded. In particular, I do not, nor have I ever, conceded that the argument instantiated by your (1a)-(2a) is invalid. For obviously, if there are intentional objects, then such arguments have to be valid. However, having said that, I of course agree that arguments of the form:

1) John is seeking the golden mountain;
Therefore,
2) There is a golden mountain John is seeking.

are invalid. I simply deny that arguments of the form (1a)-(2a) are the same as arguments of the form (1)-(2). You and others simply assumed that arguments of the form (1a)-(2a) are the same as arguments of the form (1)-(2). They are not the same. And if they are not the same, then (1a)-(2a) may be valid even if (1)-(2) is not.
<<

To be clear, you think that “John’s seeking is directed towards an intentional object, therefore, there is an intentional object which John’s seeking is directed towards” is NOT valid?

Bill says here http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2011/01/does-a-cube-have-12-edges.html that the statement “Tom’s thinking has an intentional object, but there are no intentional objects” is consistent and that it is equivalent to the consequence “if Tom’s thinking has an intentional object, something is an intentional object”, which for that reason is invalid.

This is slightly different (but only slightly so) from the inference above. Bill would clearly hold that “John’s seeking is directed towards an intentional object” is consistent with “there are no intentional objects”. But “there are no intentional objects, therefore there is no intentional object to which John’s seeking is directed” is valid, and so whatever is consistent with the antecedent is consistent with the consequent. Ergo etc.

It seems clear that there is substantial disagreement in the Phoenician camp. Can a spokesman clarify?

EO,

"To be clear, you think that “John’s seeking is directed towards an intentional object, therefore, there is an intentional object which John’s seeking is directed towards” is NOT valid?"

I said that *if intentional objects exist*, then such arguments are valid, even though arguments of the form (1)-(2) are not valid. I also maintain that intentional objects exist. Hence, I am committed to the view that arguments of the form (1a)-(2a) are valid. Therefore, there has to be a difference in form between the later and arguments of the form (1)-(2). Explaining in detail how I view this difference will have to wait for another time.

Re: Bill's statement:

"the statement “Tom’s thinking has an intentional object, but there are no intentional objects” is consistent and that it is equivalent to the consequence “if Tom’s thinking has an intentional object, something is an intentional object”, which for that reason is invalid."

If intentional objects exist, as the Intentionalist I think must accept, then the statement "Tom’s thinking has an intentional object, but there are no intentional objects" is inconsistent; although the following statement is consistent: "Tom's thinking of a golden mountain, but there is no golden mountain."

There is a systematic confusion in denying all of this. The confusion has to do with the difference in the range of the bound variables in the two types of statements. If intentional objects exist, then the the variables in (1a)-(2a) range over intentional object and not over ordinary objects. If they so range, the respective argument form is valid. On the other hand, in the case of inferences such as (1)-(2), the variables range over ordinary objects; hence, the inferences are not valid.

When time permits I will show how the difference can be formally stated. Meanwhile, it is up to you to show that given the existence of intentional objects, inferences such as (1a)-(2a) are invalid: i.e., that the conclusion (2a) can be false when the premise (1a) is true.


>>Meanwhile, it is up to you to show that given the existence of intentional objects, inferences such as (1a)-(2a) are invalid: i.e., that the conclusion (2a) can be false when the premise (1a) is true.

Why? I think it is valid, and it is obviously valid. (Not for the reasons you give, however). It is Bill who thinks it is invalid. This is why I am asking for a spokesman for the Phoenicians.

>>If intentional objects exist, as the Intentionalist I think must accept, then the statement "Tom’s thinking has an intentional object, but there are no intentional objects" is inconsistent; although the following statement is consistent: "Tom's thinking of a golden mountain, but there is no golden mountain."

You don't need the qualification 'if intentional objects exist'. If the statement "Tom’s thinking has an intentional object" is true, then there is at least one intentional object. As I have argued before, 'has' is a non-intentional verb. Unlike 'is thinking of'.

I might as well argue 'if golden mountains exist' then 1-2 is valid. Absurd.

Also, why don't you say that

Tom is thinking of a golden mountain but there are no golden mountains

IS inconsistent, because the quantifier in 'there are no golden mountains' ranges over non-existing or intentional objects? According to you, clearly it must. For if it is true that Tom is thinking of a golden mountain, then according to you he must have an intentional golden mountain as the object of his thought. And then it is clearly inconsistent to assert that there are no golden mountains, for there is one, namely the intentional one that Tom is thinking of.

A further thought: according to the reasoning outlined by Peter above, the consequence

(*) Bill owns a house in Phoenix, therefore some house is in Phoenix.

is valid only if there are houses in Phoenix. Some mistake surely?

EO,

1) I will ignore the point about the *if-clause* until later.

2) "...why don't you say that
Tom is thinking of a golden mountain but there are no golden mountains

IS inconsistent, because the quantifier in 'there are no golden mountains' ranges over non-existing or intentional objects?"

As it stands, the statement is obviously consistent. Of course, if one rephrases it in a suitable way then the paraphrased statement would be inconsistent. For instance,,

(1*) There exists an x & x is an intentional object and Tom is thinking of x and x is a golden mountain and it is not the case that x is a golden mountain.

3) "A further thought: according to the reasoning outlined by Peter above, the consequence

(*) Bill owns a house in Phoenix, therefore some house is in Phoenix.

is valid only if there are houses in Phoenix. Some mistake surely?"

Nope! Only if there is at least one entity in the universe over which the quantifiers range. Assuming that there is at least one entity in the range of the quantifiers (an assumption that is required by classical first-order quantification), then (*) is valid; for if there are no houses in Phoenix, then the premise is false and so is the conclusion. The argument is still valid. On the other hand, if the premise is true, then there must be some houses in Phoenix, and therefore the consequence must be true.

Same with my intentional-object claim. There must be at least one intentional object in the domain of the quantifiers. If there are such objects, all works out fine so far as I can see.

4) I think Bill's position is motivated by his internalism regarding the mental. So he is reluctant to take an externalist position which boldly countenances intentional objects not merely as a phenomenological feature of mental events, but also as ontologically viable entities. I am willing to explore a full blown externalism about these aspects of the mental. However, hopefully Bill will address the current exchange at some point.

>>Nope!

Right, so you now agree that the consequence "Bill owns a house in Phoenix, therefore some house is in Phoenix" is valid, whether or not there are houses in Phoenix. The antecedent cannot be true without the consequent being true also. The existence of Phoenician houses is irrelevant.

In which case, I was confused by "if there are intentional objects, then such arguments have to be valid. " Gricean maxims suggest you would not have added the 'if' unless you were implying a necessary, rather than a sufficient condition.

And again, to avoid all confusion, I agree it is valid. It was Bill who was suggesting it was not.

What is your explanation then for the difference between the case of "Tom is thinking of a golden mountain but there are no golden mountains" and the case of "Tom's thinking is directed towards a golden mountain but there are no golden mountains"

We both agree the first is consistent, the second is not. But what is your explanation?

>> There exists an x & x is an intentional object and Tom is thinking of x and x is a golden mountain and it is not the case that x is a golden mountain.

This is not a paraphrase of ""Tom is thinking of a golden mountain but there are no golden mountains". The paraphrase would be

for some x, x is a golden mountain and not for some x, x is a golden mountain

which is obviously inconsistent.

OOps. I meant

for some x, x is a golden mountain and Tom is thinking of x and not for some x, x is a golden mountain

Peter, I commented on your argument here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2011/02/quantifying-over-intentional-objects.html

Let me know if I have misunderstood it.

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