The purpose of this dissertation is to examine and evaluate the views on the problem of intentionality advanced by Chisholm and Sellars. The problem of intentionality is construed as the problem of what special nature, if any, is exhibited by linguistic expressions describing conceptual psychological phenomena (excluding, for example, "raw feels"), and what special nature, if any, is exhibited by those phenomena themselves.
The first two chapters present an exposition and critical discussion of certain attempts by Chisholm to describe the "logical" characteristics of sentences describing psychological phenomena. Chapter I attempts to formulate Chisholm's claims in "Sentences about Believing," and it is argued that these claims are indefensible. It is also argued that certain criticisms of these claims which have been put forth in the recent literature are unfounded because they are based on mistaken formulations of Chisholm's claims.
In Chapter II it is argued that two sorts of criticisms of "Sentences about Believing," neither of which depends on a mistaken formulation of Chisholm's claims, are also unfounded. The first is that the class of intentional sentences includes many sorts of sentences which are not psychological; the second is Cornman's argument that Chisholm's application of one of his criteria for intentional sentences is mistaken. Two of Chisholm's more recent proposals of criteria for intentional sentences are then examined. It is argued that Chisholm's claims in connection with these proposals are acceptable, but that the claims are not sufficiently strong to generate the results that Chisholm seems to be after.
Chapter III is an attempted exposition and defense of Sellars' views on intentionality. It is argued that these views are defensible and plausible. Chapter IV proceeds to an evaluation of the issues raised in the course of the published correspondence between Chisholm and Sellars. Two chief issues are examined. The first is Chisholm's insistence that semantical statements entail psychological ones, but not conversely; the second is Chisholm's insistence that if there were no thoughts, nothing would be intentional, and that no parallel claim is true of linguistic items. It is argued of both claims that in so far as Chisholm's assertions are defensible, Sellars would not disagree; and that if we understand these assertions so that Sellars would disagree, they are then indefensible. A concluding section offers an account of why, given this apparent lack of substantive disagreement, the correspondence seems so inconclusive. Several reasons are presented, and it is suggested that one substantive point of issue might result from Chisholm's seeming dissent from Sellars' view that the fact that thoughts and linguistic items both exhibit analogous intentional properties cannot be discovered simply by an examination of the two sorts of items. It is argued that dissent from this view of Sellars' seems unfounded, but that further debate on this point might be fruitful.
Chapter V examines Chisholm's and Sellars' views in relation to logical behaviorism, physicalism, and the identity thesis. It is argued that Chisholm and Sellars are correct that logical behaviorism is untenable, but for reasons independent of any incompatibility with Chisholm's claims. It is further argued that a certain version of the identity thesis is defensible, and that on the basis of that thesis, a defensible version of physicalism is constructible. It is argued that nothing in Chisholm's or Sellars' views runs counter to the plausibility of the defended version of the identity thesis. It is also argued that Chisholm's position does not conflict with the defended version of physicalism, and that while it is unclear whether the same holds for Sellars' position, if there is any such conflict, Sellars' position must to that degree be rejected.
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