What’s in a (Mental) Picture

  • Alberto VoltoliniEmail author
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 373)


In this paper I present several interpretations of Brentano’s notion of the intentional inexistence of a mental state’s intentional object, that is, what that state is about. I hold moreover that, while all the interpretations in Sects. 18.1–18.5 are wrong, the penultimate interpretation focused on in Sect. 18.6, according to which intentional inexistence amounts to the individuation of a mental state by means of its intentional object, is right provided that it is embedded in the fully correct interpretation given in Sect. 18.7. This is because it merely provides one of the necessary conditions for this last interpretation, in which intentional inexistence amounts to the constitution of a mental state by means of its intentional object. Finally, I argue that both these interpretations preserve the idea, which strikes everyone as true, that an intentional object exists in the mental state about it very much in the same way as a pictorial character exists in the picture (qua interpreted entity) that depicts it.


Mental State Ontological Commitment Intentional Object Narrow Scope Intentional Content 
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Filosofia e Scienze dell’EducazioneUniversitá degli Studi di TorinoTorinoItaly

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