Monday, July 23, 2007

Molnar, Merlea-Ponty and Pan-Intentionality

Steve Esser has an interesting post on his blog examining the late philosopher George Molnar’s claim that “something very much like intentionality is a pervasive and ineliminable feature of the physical world.”



Molnar stops short of extending this claim to a panpsychist position, by asserting that something else besides internationality may demarcate the physical from the mental. I agree with Steve that such a demarcation may not be necessary (the discussion in the comments section strays off topic but has been nonetheless stimulating too).

On the subject of intentionality, this article compares intentionality (focussing mainly on Merleau-Ponty) with the Whiteheadian concept of prehension.

The author notes that the differentiation of the two concepts by the generally anthropocentic application of intentionality in phenomeneology is "mitigated substantially if some form of sentience and intentionality is attributed to nonhuman entities, as it seems to be done in [Merleau-Ponty's] 'The Structure of Behavior' ".

Incidentally, whilst your at Steve's blog, he also has a post on a recent paper on quantum effects playing a significant role in energy transfer processes in photosynthesis. The discovery of such effects could be of some relevance for quantum theories of consciousness, as it counters the view that quantum phenomena are irrelevant at the level of biological function.

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2 comments:

Steve said...

Thank you for posting the article by Gier. That was a good read and reminded me vividly of why I liked Heidegger and especially Merleau-Ponty when I first read them years ago -- before I encountered the "rediscovery" of consciousness by anglo-american philosophers.

Justin said...

Yeah, I think some more cross-pollination between the rediscoverers and the phenomenological tradition could do a lot for consciousness studies.