Approaches to Intentionality

Approaches to Intentionality

Approaches to Intentionality

Approaches to Intentionality


Approaches to Intentionality is an authoritative and accessible account of a problem central to contemporary philosopy of mind. Lyons first gives a critical survey of the current debate about the nature of intentionality, then moves on to offer an original new theory. The book is written throughout in a clear, direct, and lively style.


Approaches to Intentionality is divided into two parts. The first and longer of the two parts, 'Modern Approaches', is devoted to critical accounts, which are also, I hope, fair and sympathetic accounts of the leading theories about intentionality in contemporary analytic philosophy of mind. I have singled out five theories for examination. I chose those theories which seem to me both to focus in a deliberate way upon intentionality and to be original and salient. I have also tried to describe those theories against their more general philosophical background. Others, admittedly, might see things differently and produce a different selection. I apologize, therefore, to anyone who feels left out.

This mapping of current theorizing about intentionality seems to me a worthwhile task in itself because the current discussions about intentionality have become increasingly more specialized and complex. Even to display the conceptual geography clearly would be a distinct gain.

In the second part of this book, 'A Different Approach', I have delineated another approach to intentionality, my own. This approach has been influenced considerably by work in developmental psychology and neurophysiology. On the other hand, above all, it owes an enormous debt to those that have gone before, especially to those whose tracks I have traced in Part I.

In both parts of the book I have tried to write in a clear, direct, and lively style. I have done this in the hope that it will prove accessible not merely to my professional colleagues but also to undergraduate philosophy students and even to interested 'outsiders'.

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