The background of Searle's "Background" : motives, anticipations, and problems
Ross, Paul Douglas
In this thesis, I discuss John Searle’s account of Intentionality which includes his theory of the Background as something which is necessary, in some sense, to there being such a thing as Intentionality. In chapter one I briefly introduce the notions of both background and normativity. In chapter two, I discuss the motives and initial rationale of Searle’s theory. In chapter three I discuss the philosophers he has had contact with who anticipated the Background. In chapter four I claim that Searle has always been conflicted about his theory and I diagnose the root of his conflict, namely that the original rationale required the Background to be normative in nature, but over time it was additionally conceived neurophysiologically, causally, and thus non-normative in nature. I argue that his conflict is inevitable given the irreducibility of the intentional to the non-intentional, and more generally of the normative to the non-normative.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteePfeifer, Karl; Mackenzie, Patrick; Kelly, Ivan W.
Copyright DateJune 2005
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