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Volume 23 Issue 3 (September 2015), Pages 349-813

Not All Attitudes are Propositional (pages 374-391)


Most contemporary philosophical discussions of intentionality start and end with a treatment of the propositional attitudes. In fact, many theorists hold (tacitly if not explicitly) that all attitudes are propositional attitudes. Our folk‐psychological ascriptions suggest, however, that there are non‐propositional attitudes: I like Sally, my brother fears snakes, everyone loves my grandmother, and Rush Limbaugh hates Obama. I argue that things are as they appear: there are non‐propositional attitudes. More specifically, I argue that there are attitudes that relate individuals to non‐propositional objects and do so not in virtue of relating them to propositions. I reach this conclusion by not only showing that attempted analyses of apparently non‐propositional attitudes in terms of the propositional fail, but that some non‐propositional attitudes don't even supervene on propositional attitudes. If this is correct, then the common discussions of intentionality that address only propositional attitudes are incomplete and those who hold that all intentional states are propositional are mistaken.

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