Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind

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John Searle's Speech Acts (1969) and Expression and Meaning (1979) developed a highly original and influential approach to the study of language. But behind both works lay the assumption that the philosophy of language is in the end a branch of the philosophy of the mind: speech acts are forms of human action and represent just one example of the mind's capacity to relate the human organism to the world. The present book is concerned with these biologically fundamental capacities, and, though third in the sequence, in effect it provides the philosophical foundations for the other two. Intentionality is taken to be the crucial mental phenomenon, and its analysis involves wide-ranging discussions of perception, action, causation, meaning, and reference. In all these areas John Searle has original and stimulating views. He ends with a resolution of the 'mind-body' problem.

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Book Description:

Although third in sequence, this work provides the philosophical foundations for the author's Speech Acts (1969) and Expression and Meaning (1979) in which a highly original and influential approach to the study of language is developed.

Review:

'The strengths of the book lie in its vigor and general clarity, and in the stimulating discussions of the pre-intentional background necessary to the existence of intentional states and of the intentions of a communicator. [Searle's] sharp statement of the structural parallels between action and perception is possibly the best introduction to that phenomenon.' Philosophical Review

'The scope and consistency of his attempt to explain the Philosophy of Language as part of the Philosophy of the Mind is truly impressive.' Nous

'The prose is clear, the approach is straightforward, the arguments powerful. It would be an especially good text to use in the graduate seminar in the philosophy of the mind.' International Studies in Philosophy

'A thorough study of all aspects of Searle's approach is essential to any serious study of issues in the philosophy of mind.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

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