, Volume 66, Issue 1–2, pp 247–270 | Cite as

The Consequences Of Intentionalism

  • Daniel Stoljar


This article explores two consequences of intentionalism. My first line of argument focuses on the impact of intentionalism on the ‚hard problem’ of phenomenal character. If intentionalism is true, the phenomenal supervenes on the intentional. Furthermore, if physicalism about the intentional is also true, the intentional supervenes on the physical. Therefore, if intentionalism and physicalism are both true, then, by transitivity of supervenience, physicalism about the phenomenal is true. I argue that this transitivity argument is not persuasive, because on any interpretation of its central terms, at least one of its premises is as controversial as its conclusion already is. My second line of argument is about the consequences of intentionalism for the error theory of color perception. I suggest that if intentionalism is true, projectivism must be true also, because under this condition there is no single concept of color that can be used for the qualification of objects as well as for the characterization of experiences.


Hard Problem Error Theory Phenomenal Character Informational Content Dispositional Property 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



I delivered previous versions of this talk to audiences at the Australian National University and the NEH Summer Seminar on Consciousness at Santa Cruz. I am indebted to all who took part in the ensuing discussion. For further comments and suggestions I am particularly indebted to: Karen Bennett, David Chalmers, Martin Davies, Frank Jackson, Brian Garrett, Aaron Zimmerman, Ralph Shumacher, and Laura Schroeter.


  1. Armstrong D.: 1968, A Materialist Theory of the Mind, Routledge and Kegan Paul, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Block, N.: 2000, ‚Mental Paint’, in M. Hahn and B. Ramberg (eds.), Essays in Honor of Tyler Burge, MIT Press, pp. 125–151. References are to the PDF versionGoogle Scholar
  3. Boghossian P., D. Velleman: 1989, Colour as a Secondary Quality, Mind 98, 81–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Byrne A.: 2001a, Intentionalism Defended, Philosophical Review 110, 199–240Google Scholar
  5. Byrne A.: 2001b, Do Colours Look Like Dispositions? Reply to Langsam and Others, Philosophical Quarterly 51, 238–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chalmers D.: 1996, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory, Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  7. Crane T.: 2002, Elements of Mind, Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  8. Davies, M.: 1997, ‚Externalism and Experience’, in N. Block et al. (eds.), The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates, MIT Press, Cambridge/MA, pp. 309–327Google Scholar
  9. Dretske F.: 1995, Naturalizing the Mind, MIT Press, Cambridge/MAGoogle Scholar
  10. Evans G.: 1985, A Commentary on Chapter One of Strawson’s Individuals, in G. Evans (ed.), Collected Papers, Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  11. Harman G.: 1990, The Intrinsic Quality of Experience, Philosophy of Mind and Action Theory: Philosophical Perspectives 4, 31–52Google Scholar
  12. Harman G.: 1996, Explaining Objective Color in terms of Subjective Reactions, in E. Villanueva (ed.), Philosophical Issues 7 (Perception), Ridgeview, Atascadero/CA, pp. 1–17Google Scholar
  13. Johnston M.: 1992, How to Speak of the Colors, Philosophical Studies 68, 221–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kripke S.: 1982, Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, Harvard University Press, Cambridge/MAGoogle Scholar
  15. Ludlow, P., Y. Nagasawa and D. Stoljar (eds.): 2004, There’s Something about Mary: Essays on Phenomenal Consciousness and Frank Jackson’s Knowedge Argument, MIT Press, Cambridge/MAGoogle Scholar
  16. Lycan W.: 1996, Consciousness and Experience. MIT Press, Cambridge/MAGoogle Scholar
  17. Martin M. G. F.: 2002, The Transparency of Experience, Mind and Language 17, 376–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McGinn C.: 1996, Another Look at Color, Journal of Philosophy 93, 537–553CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Peacocke C.: 1983, Sense and Content, Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  20. Shoemaker S.: 1994, Phenomenal Character, Nous 28, 21–38Google Scholar
  21. Shoemaker S.: 1996, The First Person Perspective and Other Essays, Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  22. Stoljar D.: 2003, Physicalism Plus Intentionalism Equals Error Theory, Behavioural and Brain Sciences 26, 790–791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Stoljar D.: 2004, The Argument from Diaphanousness, in R. Stainton, M. Escurdia, C. Viger (eds.), New Essays in the Philosophy of Language and Mind. Supplemental Volume of the Canadian Journal of Philosophy, University of Calgary Press, Calgary, pp. 341–390Google Scholar
  24. Stoljar D.: 2006, Ignorance and Imagination: On the Epistemic Origin of the Problem of Consciousness, Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Tye M.: 1995, Ten Problems of Consciousness, MIT Press, Cambridge/MAGoogle Scholar
  26. Tye M.: 2000, Color, Content and Consciousness, MIT Press, Cambridge/MAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research School of Social SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations