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Date of Award

10-1971

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

Supervisor

James Noxon

Abstract

The notion of intentionality is introduced by an examination of the "intentional inexistence" of Brentano, and "intentionality" of Husserl. The intentional thesis is seen to entail two aspects within a noetic/noematic correlation: an ontological thesis concerning the nature of the object intended, and a psychological thesis concerning the constitution of the object as intended by consciousness. A rather lengthy examination of Hume and associationist tenets shows that we can no longer distinguish the image from the percept by such characteristics as inner/outer, stronger/weaker, original/copy, et cetera, in the light of the intentional thesis. All consciousness is consciousness of something. Imagination is a form of consciousness, and apprehends or approaches its objects directly, not as a copy of a perception. The image is fundamentally different and distinguishable from the percept, and is known by consciousness to be different. Reflexive consciousness recognizes that the percept is here and now, is a full positivity, is virtually infinite in content (overflowing), and yields new information. The image, on the contrary, is recognized immediately as having different characteristics, all of which are a form of "negation": it posits its object as absent, non-existent, existing elsewhere, or as neutralized (not-existing_. The image is limited in content to precisely what consciousness puts into it, and can therefore yield no new knowledge. Sartre is seen not to discuss how involuntary images cannot surprise or yield new knowledge; the problem of voluntary and involuntary images is avoided by Sartre, nor does he examine the psychological basis of streams of images in hallucination, memory, or day-dreaming, nor how these various different kinds of image-streams might be distinguished. However, in an examination of isolated images and percepts Sartre's thesis is seen to provide new insight into the ontological and psychological aspects of these images and percepts. This would seem a necessary point of departure for a more extensive theory of mind, and accordingly Sartre has contributed not a theory of mind but an examination of certain basic properties of human consciousness. Finally, these new insights into the nature of human consciousness are seen to alter the view of the world, not only in so far as the world is an object of consciousness, but also in so far as the meaning of the world is constituted by the apprehending consciousness.

McMaster University Library

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