2011-2014: Brentano's Psychology and the Problem of Intentionality of Sensuous Acts

Abstract

The project aims to develop a new interpretation of the problem of intentionality and of the relationship between Brentano’s empirical and descriptive psychology. For this, the following ideas are advanced: (1) in his fundamental work from 1874, Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint, Brentano does not have a personal answer to the question of how psychology can develop into a science. For this reason he embraces the explanatory model of natural sciences and defines psychology as a science which studies the laws of succession and coexistence of psychic phenomena; (2) the contrast between the empirical psychology from 1874 and the latter developed descriptive psychology rests not in the fact that the first has not yet attained to the genetic – descriptive distinction, but in the fact that inside the descriptive psychology Brentano abandons the idea of relating the psychology to the model of explanatory science, and defines it as a descriptive science in searching of the fundamental constituting elements of a psychical act; (3) the analysis of intentionality of sensuous acts (sensations, phantasy presentations) brings to the fore a new trend in Brentano’s psychological thought, different from the one usually deployed, and can provide solutions to important, and still unsolved problems of his psychology, like the intentional features of sensation and the classification of psychical acts.   Key words: Philosophical Psychology; Philosophy as Science; Intentionality; Aristotelianism in the 19th century; Sensuous Acts.