[hist-analytic] Mele on Effective Intentions Pt. 1

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Fri Feb 4 11:55:08 EST 2011


Sensations for Kant, just to take one example, are material effects. The mind for Kant,, e.g., becomes active only in *working up perceptions* or empirical intuitions from those sensations according to rules determined by the categories of the pure understanding. The active mind becomes involved only at the level of judgment and concepts. Sensations, for Kant, are not empirical intuitions. The distinction is subtle but depends on the difference between the active and the passive mind. Also, if you restrict sense data to qualia in a realist ontology, similarly, sense data become the effects of material or other causes. Being the "effects" the subject is passive in relation to them. The causes "active" by contrast. This is the traditional view. I think you can find this in Aristotle who places sensations at the "bottom" of the cognitive "line." 

'Volition' is a term of art. It rarely, if ever, receives the same definition among action theorists. However, for Mele an "occurrent intention" may be considered something like a volition, but we'll have to see what he does with "volition." Answering the second half of your question would require a few dozen pages even if we restrict ourselves to a single philosopher. I recommend in this regard a close look at the relevant section on the Will in James's Psychology vol. II. The best thing ever written on the subject after Aristotle'; then Bradley (who is the unrecognized genius in such matters). 



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Danny Frederick" <danny.frederick at btinternet.com> 
To: "hist-analytic" <hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk> 
Sent: Friday, February 4, 2011 8:43:13 AM 
Subject: RE: Mele on Effective Intentions Pt. 1 

Hi Steve, 

Just a couple of comments. 

How can cognitive properties be passive? Understanding anything requires an effort. Even interpreting our perceptions is an active process. 

Is an ‘executive intention’ another name for an act of volition? If so, why not just say so? If not, then how is it different? 

Danny 45000
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