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Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy$
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Walter Ott

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570430.001.0001

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Intentionality

Intentionality

Chapter:
(p.197) 24 Intentionality
Source:
Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy
Author(s):

Walter Ott (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570430.003.0025

Hume's chief weapon against causal realism is the argument from nonsense: for a view even to be a candidate for being right, it must first be intelligible to us. This chapter argues that, while Hume is not a positivist or verificationist, his account of intentionality, and in particular his denial of meaning to definite descriptions, makes for a starkly restrictive version of empiricism. In replacing the traditional account of mental propositions in terms of judgment with his own story about propositional attitudes, Hume makes it impossible to think of a thing by means of a definite description. This closes off any appeal to Lockean passive powers. This chapter goes on to argue that Hume's occasional talk of “relative ideas” does not threaten this basic position.

Keywords:   verificationism, positivism, intentionality, relative ideas, nonsense

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