Saturday, June 20, 2009
The argument from intentionality
I consider the first-person essential to a full description of our mental life, including those states essential to reasoning. There is something that it is like to be in those states. Properly physicalistic descriptions are invariably third-person. Pile up third-person descriptions until doomsday, give me more and more science that has by definition has to be third-person, and the first person content simply won't make it in. It can't. "Ah, but this is just an appeal to ignorance. Once we get more sophisticated third-person accounts, the problem will disappear." No. Your commitment to third person, truly naturalistic accounts of mental states is going to make it impossible for you to produce an adequate account of intentional states, and all the science in the world is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.