Against the Attitudes (location change, moved to 32-141)
Michelle Montague (University of Texas at Austin), Michelle Montague (University of Texas at Austin)

February 22, 2019, 10:30am - 12:30pm
Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

United States



Many mental states exhibit intentionality, the property of being about something, or of something in the sense of ‘of’ exemplified by phrases like ‘a view of Florence’, ‘an account of the Battle of the Bulge’. Paradigm cases of intentional mental states standardly include beliefs, desires, thoughts, hopes, fears, supposings, wonderings. It has long been standard practice in analytic philosophy to describe these intentional mental states in terms of three distinct metaphysical elements: a subject-element, an attitude-element, and a content-element. I call it ‘the Tripartite view’, because it posits three fundamental distinct elements. In this paper I argue that the Tripartite view is mistaken, and propose that it should be replaced by what I will call ‘the Dual view’. According to the Dual view, all there is to the metaphysics of our intentional states is (i) a content and (ii) a subject; there is no need to postulate distinct metaphysical relations and call them ‘the belief relation’, ‘the desire relation’, and so on.

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