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Boden, Margaret A., , . Intentionality and physical systems
1970, Philosophy of Science 32 (June):200-214.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Intentionality is characteristic of many psychological phenomena. It is commonly held by philosophers that intentionality cannot be ascribed to purely physical systems. This view does not merely deny that psychological language can be reduced to physiological language. It also claims that the appropriateness of some psychological explanation excludes the possibility of any underlying physiological or causal account adequate to explain intentional behavior. This is a thesis which I do not accept. I shall argue that physical systems of a specific sort will show the characteristic features of intentionality. Psychological subjects are, under an alternative description, purely physical systems of a certain sort. The intentional description and the physical description are logically distinct, and are not intertranslatable. Nevertheless, the features of intentionality may be explained by a purely causal account, in the sense that they may be shown to be totally dependent upon physical processes.

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Millikan, Ruth Garrett, , . Naturalizing intentionality
2000, In Bernard Elevitch (ed.), The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy. Philosopy Documentation Center. pp. 83-90.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Brentano was surely mistaken, however, in thinking that bearing a relation to something nonexistent marks only the mental. Given any sort of purpose, it might not get fulfilled, hence might exhibit Brentano’s relation, and there are many natural purposes, such as the purpose of one’s stomach to digest food or the purpose of one’s protective eye blink reflex to keep out the sand, that are not mental, nor derived from anything mental. Nor are stomachs and reflexes “of” or”about” anything. A reply might be, I suppose, that natural purposes are “purposes” only in an analogical sense hence “fail to be fulfilled” only in an analogical way. They bear an analogy to things that have been intentionally designed by purposive minds, hence can fail to accomplish the purposes they analogically have. As such they also have only analogical “intentionality”. Such a response begs the question, however, for it assumes that natural purposes are not purposes in the full sense exactly because they are not

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