The centenary of Brentano’s death provides the opportunity to witness the leading position carved out by his thought within the centennial history of «Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica», seeking to point out in what extent Brentano’s philosophy can be still considered ‘contemporary’. Specifically, most of the contemporary studies addressed to Brentano’s philosophy clearly show that the role of utmost importance he played, and still plays, within the history of philosophy is not only due to his introduction and discussion of the notion of intentionality. In the last decades indeed, specific attention has been payed (a) to Brentano’s ethical theory, (b) to his overall assessment of philosophy and (c) in arguing for the idea that psychology should to be considered in the same manner as a rigorous science. This paper is aimed at outlining the plan of this special issuedevoted to Brentano’s thought, briefly presenting the themes addressed in the essays submitted by expert scholars. Thematically speaking the topics addressed in the papers clearly mirror, on the one hand, the fruitfulness of Brentano’s ethics and, on the other, they shed light on a set of themes that support a more accurate consideration of his account of philosophy.
One of the main theses of Franz Brentano’s Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint is the independence of the third class of mental acts, the acts of love and hate or acts of feeling. However, Brentano does not consider the feeling as the foundation of moral knowledge, because only a kind of knowledge can ground the principles of ethics. In the Foundation and Construction of Ethics, Brentano faces the history of moral philosophy, with particular regard to Hume’s theory that ethics rests on feeling. The paper deals with the criticism towards Hume’s moral doctrine and aims to shed light on the Brentano’s thesis according to which only the knowledge of the feeling can provide the foundation for ethics. As a secondary act of intentional relation, as an act analogous to the judgment, feeling can be an evident act; it can also be a conscious act which, in a clear and distinct manner, is both capable of discerning its parts and their inner relations, and capable of knowing what is correct to feel as good, what is worthy of being approved from a moral standpoint.
One of the classical insights of Brentano’s philosophy of intentional states is that there is a close relationship between intentionality and consciousness of mental states. As a consequence, this means that the consciousness of emotions involves an immediate presentation of the presentation in which the ‘affective’ mind is directed toward some object. Somehow differently, contemporary philosophical and psychological emotion theories are more interested in the experiential criterion of emotions, and, assuming that they acknowledge the intentionality criterion, the relation between conscious phenomenality and intentionality, in this case, is conceived of as an extrinsic relation. In this article, I propose an examination of Brentano’s theory of affective states, and a short analysis of his criticisms against Hamilton’s phenomenal view of affective states, in order to show that the Brentanian approach of the connexion between intentionality and consciousness could reveal difficulties and prejudices that contemporary emotions theories have to face.
The aim of this paper is to make a brief analysis about the way Brentano and Thomas Aquinas conceive the relationship between will and feelings. Whereas the former puts forth a will that merges with the feelings based on the existence of a continuum in the sense that there is no delimitation between both of them, Thomas Aquinas claims their needed essential distinction. To achieve a better development of the question, this article is split into five sections: (1) the Brentano’s continuum argument between will and feelings; (2) the Thomistic standpoint founded on the essential distinction between will and feelings; (3) a discussion about the morality of the feelings according to Brentano and Thomas Aquinas; (4) the relative discrepancies between Brentano and Thomas Aquinas around the moral nature of the feelings, and finally, (5) a conclusion derived from the comparative analysis between both authors on the matter.
Franz Brentano is best known for having introduced the concept of intentionality in order to define mental reality. Brentanian scholars have mostly focused on the epistemological and metaphysical aspects of intentionality. However, ethics also plays a central role in Brentano’s philosophical description of our mental life as moral agents. Brentano claims a form of moral intuitionism based on the primitive notion of correct emotion. Commentators explain his theory in terms of the ontology of intrinsic value as an intentional correlate of a right feeling, or in term of buck-passing meta-ethical theory. I offer a different account: Brentano draws a moral psychology in order to justify a form of emotive-based ethical perfectionism. We can therefore fix the content of our moral concepts analysing the structure of our mental phenomena such as love and hate. I argue that Brentano’s ethical theory is at heart moral psychology, and suggest a compatibilist stance between his intuitionism and empiricism.
Call metaphysical optimism the view that this world is the best of all possible worlds. This article addresses Franz Brentano’s case for metaphysical optimism. I argue that, although Brentano does not offer any conclusive argument in favour of the latter, he disentangles many related issues which are interesting in their own right. The article has five sections corresponding to five claims, which I argue are central to Brentano’s view, namely: (§1) metaphysical optimism is best spelled out as the view that this world is the only good among all possible worlds; (§2) the notion of «correct» – or «fitting» – love offers a criterion of the good and the test of inverted love offers a means to identify that which is good; (§3) pessimism has to be distinguished from pejorism, viz. the view that the non-existence of this world is preferable to its existence; (§4) there is something good involved in every «bad» thing, to the effect that pejorism is false; (§5) it is wrong to consider the value of something in isolation.
This paper offers a presentation and assessment of Brentano’s theory of free will. In the first section I summarize the views on free will that are currently debated in contemporary philosophy and argue that Brentano’s contribution only partially maps onto present-day discussions. In the second section I turn to the lectures on Grundlegung und Aufbau der Ethik and analyze the arguments pro and contra determinism, with particular attention to Brentano’s decision in favor of determinism. In the third and concluding section I assess Brentano’s position from a Husserlian phenomenological standpoint. I argue that the lack of an explicit notion of motivational causality makes his determinism ultimately ambiguous and thus unfit to provide a solid theoretical framework to do justice to our intuitions regarding freedom and responsibility,as Brentano would have it.
By attempting to derive the concept of causality from experience Brentano gives an answer to Hume’s problem. Brentano bases his attempt on inner perception and pursues thereby a strategy of putting the derivation of the concept on a basis of evidence. According to Brentano we apply the concept of causality – initially grasped by inner perception - to the external world. By the means of further studies dealing with the validity of the concept Brentano analyzes how far the application to the external world is justified. He thereby makes use of probability and apriori arguments. The accusation of falling into psychologism while deriving causality from inner perception does not really hit Brentano. On the other hand he seems not to have been successful while proposing apriori arguments in favor of an universal validity of the concept. Brentano’s probability arguments, however, seem to be accurate. They are based on observed continuity and regularity of things. Brentano cared much about apriori arguments in favor of an universal validity of causality as a foundation of science, but also as a firm basis for a reasonable conviction of the existence of God.
In his 1874 Psychology, Brentano proceeds to a revision of Fechner’s psychophysics. Though Fechner’s formula must be simplified, Brentano’s criticism is not destructive. In fact, like any other mental activity, sensations do admit of a measurable intensity. Later Brentano took back this whole stance and developed a new doctrine of sensory perception. Accordingly, intensity must be completely reduced to spatiality and thus pertains exclusively to sensory appearances. As a consequence, despite Brentano’s understatement in his 1911 book on the classification of mental activities, a wide portion of his 1874 Psychology becomes untenable for him. Brentano’s new doctrine of sensory perception was unsuccessful, and failed to convince even his closest pupils. The best explanation for its adoption is that Brentano considered it compatible with the physiology of Hermann Helmholtz and the law of specific energy.
The article examines Husserl’s critique of Brentano’s theory of time in the light of new material from hitherto unpublished manuscripts of the lectures by Stumpf and Brentano that Husserlattended. These give a fuller picture of the actual theory of time Husserl is engaging with and allow a more balanced account of his critique. The quotations from the manuscripts point to the fact that, despite their disagreements on the psychological and phenomenological aspects of the time of consciousness and the consciousness of time, they seem to agree quite a bit more with respect to the «shape of time». That is to say, Brentano and Husserl both describe the structure of time in the same way, as an orthoid manifold with the present as its border.
Among historians of philosophy it is often taken for granted that the «Brentano school» was one of the influential philosophical movements at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century – but Brentano’s own contributions are often eclipsed by that of his direct students. This invites to reflect on the nature of and the unity within the school. Since Brentano’s conception of a rigorous, scientific philosophy had a strong impact on his students, it has been argued that this conception constitutes a unifying element in an otherwise heterogeneous group. The scope of this article is to shed light on this thesis and to show its limits. I argue for a differentiated view: the Brentano school is best seen not as a compact movement, but as a heterogeneous group of scholars who approached, in a given historical and geographical period, similar topics in very similar ways.
«The four phases of philosophy and its current state» has been generally considered as one of the most original theories of Franz Brentano and, concomitantly, as one of the most deeply rooted in the spirit of the time. It is well-known that in this respect Brentano owes a debt to Auguste Comte’s leading idea of a scientific development that allows a general reassessment of the history of philosophy, although Brentano’s view opts for scheme of repeated cycles through a movement of ascending and declining phases. By complementing the historiographical approaches that have been largely developed by recent literature (D. Fisette, D. Münch, R. Schmit), we would like to sketch a theoretical reconsideration of the Brentanian «four phases of philosophy». A theoretical reconsideration that interprets Brentano’s theory from a psychological standpoint as an alternative to other dominant interpretations (Mayer-Hillebrand, Mezei and Smith): the declining phases of philosophy should thus, more precisely, be understood as the improper representations of what philosophy, psychologically grounded, properly is.
«You cannot prove anything by crossing from another kind – e.g. something geometrical by arithmetic. There are three things involved in demonstration: one, what is being demonstrated, or the conclusion (this is what holds of some kind in itself); one, the axioms (axioms are the items from which the demonstrations proceed); third, the underlying kind whose attributes – i.e. the items incidental to it in itself – the demonstrations make plain» (Aristotle, Posterior Analytics 75a38-b2). However, Aristotle accepts an exception: the case of the sciences having a hierarchical relationship, such that one falls under the other. In this case it is possible to prove by crossing from another kind. Throughout Posterior Analytics Aristotle presents several examples of sciences having this relationship. My goal is to analyse such examples in order to show the importance and coherence of the Aristotelian theory of the hierarchy of sciences.
This essay aims to illustrate the development of Theodor Lipps’ thought starting from an analysis of his theory of judgement and the respective approach to logic. In this regard, the problem of psychologism and the Lipps’ attempt to overcome it through the idea of a pure psychology as the essential core of every philosophical reflection has been examined in particular. In its renewed function as the science of spirit par excellence, psychology is a candidate to be the fundamental science of metaphysics and of all philosophical disciplines, thus realizing the idea of a pure science of consciousness as prote philosophia. The attempt with which Lipps tries to overcome psychologism through a transcendental way, however, ends up by merging the object of psychology with that of metaphysics, and failing to show the peculiar reality of logic.
In this contribution, Wittgenstein’s fundamental thinking on language is brought into contact with the hermeneutic perspective and this not just, as usually happens, by making reference to the Philosophical Investigations and, in general, the so-called late Wittgenstein, but even by starting from the fundamental axioms of the Tractatus. The overcoming of the nominalisticlogicistic symbolism of the first phase in favor of a pragmatics of communication achieves its ownmost potential in a concept of language/Lebensform as event. In this way, the anti-metaphysical and anti-essentialist – and at the same time anti-theoretical and anti-subject-centered – matrix of Wittgenstein’s hermeneutics can make the transition from Sprachphilosophie as the traditional philosophy of language to Wortphilosophie as a philosophy of the word, where it is possible to think of language no longer as a closed and predetermined dimension, but as an open and dynamic form of life.
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