Brentano’s ‘revised’ theory of consciousness

  • Paul Bernier Université de Moncton


Three substantial issues raised by Fisette’s interpretation of Brentano’s views on consciousness are discussed. The first concerns the difference between “transitive” and “intransitive” consciousness. The second concerns what Fisette proposes as Brentano’s revised theory of consciousness, where the notion of a mental agent as a “unified real being” plays a central role. This notion is rejected and some alternative interpretations, which are in the spirit of Brentano’s theory, are proposed and defended. Finally, it is pointed out that Fisette’s interpretation remains unclear as to whether Brentano’s view is compatible or not with Rosenthal’s transitivity principle. I argue that while Brentano’s revised theory is not intentionalist, as Fisette makes it clear, it is nonetheless compatible with the transitivity principle, contrary to what Fisette claims.

Keywords: Philosophy of mind; Brentano; Transitivity principle; Intentionalism; Consciousness.

Brentano and Philosophy of Mind