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Saturday, July 24, 2021

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Nope. Your (c) does not follow from (a) and (b). Your (c) states that not only must the act have an object, it must have an existing object. So your reductio is not valid unless you change (b) to

(b*) No mental act exists without an intentional object that exists.

You may argue that if the act has an object, it must have an existing object, because ‘has’ is not an intentional verb. And of course I agree. But you said earlier that ‘has’ is an intentional verb, in order to licence the inference from

BV is thinking of N

to

BV's thinking has an object

Spelling it out.

“If S is thinking of N, then S’s thought-act has N as (intentional) object” which is the substitutional version of the ‘Thesis of Intentionality’.

The question is whether we read ‘has’ as an intentional, or non-existential verb, or as a non-intentional or existential verb.

(A) If an intentional ‘have’, then a thought-act can ‘have’ a non-existing object. Thus if Jake is thinking of Zeus, Jake’s thought-act has Zeus as object, even though Zeus does not exist. In which case the reductio he claims in the OP is not a reductio at all.

(B) If a non-intentional ‘have’, then Jake’s thought-act cannot have a non-existing object. Thus Jake’s thinking of Zeus cannot have Zeus as object, thus the thesis of Intentionality does not hold, and there is still no reductio, because the reductio depends on the thesis holding.

Thus no reductio in either case.

Also, your (a) is not correct. I am not defining the IO as 'the thing itself', but rather 'the object we think about'.

If Jake thinks about the WM while it exists, the object he thinks about is the WM. If he thinks about the WM after it is annihilated, the object he thinks about is the WM. In both cases he thinks about the WM, hence in both cases the WM is the IO.

Disagreement runs deep. More later after my more important work is done.

>Disagreement runs deep. More later

My strategy is always to start from a point where we have definite agreement, then move forwards to find the place where we disagree. Here are some points for you to mull over while you mull the important work over.

(1) We agree that “BV is thinking about the WM” can be true when the WM exists.

(2) We agree earlier that “BV is thinking about the WM” can be true even after the WM has been annihilated.

I take it that this is completely uncontroversial. But what about this:

(3) BV is thinking about the WM, therefore the object that BV is thinking about is the WM.

Is that consequence valid or not? There is also

(4) BV is thinking about the WM, therefore the object that BV is thinking about is the WM itself.

Is that valid?

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