Consciousness and Intentionality

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My goal is to try to understand the intentionality of consciousness from a naturalistic perspective. My basic methodological assumption is that embodied agents, through their sensory-motor, affective, and cognitive activities directed at objects, engage in intentional relations with these objects. Furthermore, I assume that intentional relations can be viewed from a first- and a third-person perspective. What is called primary consciousness is the first-person perspective of the agent engaged in a current intentional relation. While primary consciousness posits an implicit 'subject' or 'self,' it is primarily oriented toward its 'object.' Acts of primary consciousness have only ephemeral existence, but when such acts are reflected upon by the agent reflexive or secondary conscious knowledge of oneself, as an embodied agent engaged in an intentional relation, is constituted. I show how these ideas relate to the understanding of intentional relations in human development and how they make possible adult understanding of philosophical notions of intentionality.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4J1, Canada., Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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