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Aspects of PsychologismReview - Aspects of Psychologism
by Tim Crane
Harvard University Press, 2013
Review by Robert Zaborowski, Ph.D.
Nov 4th 2014 (Volume 18, Issue 45)

This is a collection of papers by Tim Crane he published (with one exception) between 1992 and 2012 (more precisely only one was published before 1998). Most of them have been previously given in form of lectures on several occasions (for example materials that eventually resulted in The Given were presented on as many as eight occasions). The scope of the collection is the psychologism, though it is not taken in its traditional sense (i.e. as referring to logic and mathematic) but as a view "that the study of the mind should not be a purely conceptual investigation" (x). Expressed in a positive way, psychologism is about a psychological reality (i.e. the mind), which should be studied conceptually as well as phenomenologically and empirically.

The whole is divided into four parts. Each of them starts with a short introduction intended to up-date the content of older chapters, evaluate them, often in a self-critical way by referring to their weaknesses, errors, or confusions they introduce, and, sometimes, to explain why despite some weakness, the paper has been included in the volume. The book lacks an organic structure other than parts being organized in a way as to present the best the papers Crane published in the past. This gives impression that the volume as it is composed is a bit forced (for other critical remarks on the form of the volume see below). Part I (Chapt. 2-4) is mostly historical, Part II (Chapt. 5-8) is about intentionality, Part III (Chapt. 9-12) deals with perception and Part IV (Chapt. 13-16) with consciousness. Although the structure of the volume corresponds to four themes presented, the 16 chapters do not form what one could expect from, say, an entry on intentionality, perception or consciousness in SEP. The way Crane discusses problems and issue is tirelessly detailed. His analysis is rich and cannot be given its due in this review.

The collection opens with the only unpublished paper (Introduction: In Defence of Psychologism, pp. 1-19), in which Crane clarifies his interest in the mental (or the psychological): if there are such things as psychological facts, the analysis of the mental cannot be reduced to conceptual investigation only. In this sense semantic analysis of the mental and especially of intentionality is not sufficient. For example, in his conception of ideas, Crane claims, Frege goes beyond semantic account of intentionality because ideas (or states of mind) are subjective states (or episodes) and they "can have intentional content without being propositional attitudes" (15). By accepting this, Crane sides with anti-anti-psychologists not in the sense that anti-psychologism is false but rather because he dismisses the idea dominating in recent analytic philosophy that "the philosophy of mind has concerned itself with only what [he] call[s] 'conceptual investigation'" (18). In a word, he rejects anti-psychologism because it prevents a broader and more realistic conception of intentionality.

The aim of the first of three historical essays (Brentano's Concept of Intentional Inexistence, pp. 25-39) is to elucidate Brentano's thinking about intentionality. That is important insofar as Brentano in this respect underwent a change of mind which is not taken into consideration in discussions of his views. Brentano's early (around 1874) position was that "phenomena are not real in themselves but only signs of a fundamentally unknowable independent reality; and that some things are, in a certain way, more real than others" (29). According to Brentano, all sciences, physics included, deal not with things themselves, but only with their appearances which, as such, are mind-dependent. The difference between sciences is to be explained by difference between the phenomena studied in them. Since all mental acts have as their objects phenomena, either physical or mental, Brentano adopted Scholastic term intentional inexistence, i.e. existence in the mental act. But around 1911 Brentano stopped claiming that "'[...] mental relation can have something other than a thing as it [sic!] object'" (37). His novel view was that objects of mental act can be real things and as such they transcend the mental act. To sum it up, the concept of intentional inexistence has been abandoned by Brentano himself.

Wittgenstein and Intentionality (pp. 40-60) is a treatment of the later Wittgenstein's use of this concept. Although the corresponding word is not there, the idea is, Crane claims, "central at all stages of his philosophical development" (40). As for the early Wittgenstein, even if there is a little about philosophy of mind, intentionality can be detected through the concept of representation. This is because in the Tractatus thought and reality stand in internal relation. In his middle period (e.g. Philosophical Grammar) Wittgenstein thought of relation between thought and reality as grammatical. For example expectations and fulfillment are related by a grammatical rule. Finally, in thePhilosophical Investigations, esp. §§428-465, Wittgenstein says more - still without using the word - on intentionality, i.e. relation between thought and particular real thing. Doing so, he developed his position of the middle period. The relation or similarity between expectation and its fulfillment or between wishes and their satisfaction consists in the fact that expectation and wishes are expressed in the same words that are used to describe, respectively, fulfillment and satisfaction. Relations are, therefore, "merely reflections of grammatical propositions" (51). The rest of the chapter is devoted to discussion of P. M. S. Hacker's reading of Wittgenstein. Crane makes there also a critical remark as to the insufficiency of Wittgenstein's description of the relation between what is expected and what fulfils the expectation: there is more to this relation than grammar.

In essay four (The Origins of Qualia, pp. 61-86) Crane touches upon the problem of qualia, the very center of the mind-body problem (the denial of this is the rationale of Chapt. 10), by making a point first about how qualia are understood by several philosophers and about their existing or not, then about the origin of qualia. Crane connects the dispute about qualia to the dispute about sense-data in the philosophy of perception. Both disputes are characterized by disagreement about whether differences between experiences results from differences in objects or from differences in properties of experiences. In its contemporary version the role played by the problem of qualia is to provide an objection to physicalism: if there are qualia, i.e. non-physical facts, then physicalism is false. After considering the thesis that qualia are properties of (public) physical objects and refuting it, Crane analyses another thesis, i.e. that qualia are properties of experiences, and he considers its two versions: qualia as either intentional or non-intentional properties of experiences. The conclusion is somehow technical: given various and conflicting ways the term qualia has been used, Crane suggests to stop speaking about qualia in experience at all. (However, as he says in the introduction to Part I, this paper should be read together with a more recent one, The Given (2012), included in Part III of the volume, as a superseding of it.)

Part II contains four papers dealing with intentionality (or aboutness, or of-ness, or directedness) of the mental. In the first of them (Intentionality as the Mark of the Mental, pp. 92-110), Crane starts by spelling out reasons for which Brentano's thesis (i.e. that "intentionality 'is characteristic exclusively of mental phenomena [...]'" (91)) is commonly rejected. Crane's concern is to conceive of any meaning of intentionality so that Brentano's thesis could be accepted, since, he believes, the rejection of his thesis is based on a misunderstanding. First of all, on a closer look the supposed non-intentionality of bodily sensations or some emotions - which is to contradict the thesis - falls down. For example, in pain one's mind is directed on his pain. Moreover, this being directed on it manifests itself in various ways: by concentrating on, attending to, trying to ignore it. (Argument against non-intentionality of sensations will be presented once again in The Intentional Structure of Consciousness - in a more detailed and developed way, see below.) As for so-called undirected emotions, e.g. anxiety, they are directed on objects, though these objects are not easy to determine. Sometimes this happens because people are not able to express what their emotions are about (we could, I think, distinguish two cases here: one is when people are not able to do so but they could be, for example by a deeper inspection and acquiring better linguistic tools, the second pertains to emotions which as such are ineffable, as this is the case of Kierkegaard's Abraham). An emotion can refer to "one's position in the world" (102) or to nothingness. Crane defends here the thesis that all mental phenomena exhibit intentionality by putting forward two features of it: its apparent relationality and its fine-grained character. In the last section Crane speculates if intentionality can be shared by the non-mental.

Intentional Objects (pp. 111-123) is about the nature and character of that kind of objects. For Crane, intentional objects as such have no nature, this is no special nature that would distinguish them from other objects. An object is intentional only insofar as it is an object of some subject's intention (accordingly, x can be an intentional object for you but not for me, for men but not for dogs, for sighted but not for the blind etc. - but it can be also an intentional object for both you and me). Crane rejects Anscombe's approach on which intentional object would "be a kind of direct object in the grammatical sense" (118). He says rightly that "it would surely be surprising if the idea of an intentional object [...] were mere shadows of the grammar" (118). (How, I would ask, it could be a matter of syntax, given differences of syntax between languages?) Crane says that in recent debates the concept of intentionality has been replaced with that of representation. But what is more useful than this kind of re-alignment is rather, in Crane's opinion, a distinction between intentional object and intentional content. For example the same object can be presented in two different states of mind in two different ways which means that these two states of mind, though directed on the same object, differ in content (in the next chapter he will explicitly say, when speaking about a pain in one's nonexistent ankle, that intentionality is a relation "not to an actually existing object, but to an intentional content", 146). However, it is more accurate "to say that thoughts are about their objects than to say that they are about their contents." (122) This is why Crane suggests to reformulate the issue and to say that "[t]houghts havecontents, and it is because of this that they are about their objects" (122 -- but I wonder why the opposite could not be said). He concludes that as long as we use the notion of aboutness, we need the notion of intentional object.

In The Intentional Structure of Consciousness (pp. 124-148) Crane starts with presenting a strong claim that "only minds, or states of mind, are conscious" (122). But the claim he defends in this chapter is that "consciousness is a form of intentionality" (122-123). For example, pain is a mental state in which mind is directed on a part of the body felt in this occurrence of pain. What is at stake is that by distinguishing the object of the intentional state and the state itself we can see better that "all mental states are intentional" (the view he calls intentionalism), the thesis that many deny. He embarks on arguing that sensations are intentional. Section 2 has a lot in common with what has been already said in previous papers. What is new is a concept - used after Searle - of intentional mode of an act (i.e. way of relating the subject to the content of his intentional act, be it belief, hope, desire etc.). Section 3 provides an argument against the thesis that sensations are not intentional. Sensations are intentional because they are not objectless, as non-intentionalists claim: (bodily) sensations have objects, e.g. a part of the body affected in the sensation. From this moment Crane distinguishes two versions of intentionalism. Weak intentionalism admits that all mental states are intentional but some of them have non-intentional properties (i.e. qualia). Crane rejects this view because in sensation there are no qualia separable from the intentional awareness of, say, pain. Strong intentionalism (i.e. a view that no mental state has any non-intentional mental properties) exists in two versions, representationalism and perceptual theory. The first is to admit that sensations are representations of states of affaires. But, Crane objects, in some sensations its subject is not well aware of the states of affaires these sensations represent. In the second, the one Crane defends and called perceptual theory, (bodily) sensations are considered as a form of perception of what is going on in one's body. On this view sensations differ in their intentional mode. If I understand correctly, it could be said more precisely that they differ in the intentional mode of perception of what is felt (or perceived) in a sensation, hence a name of this theory.

The last chapter of Part II (Intentionalism, pp. 149-169) is, insofar as it is deals with the idea that all mental states are intentional, repeating thoughts presented elsewhere in the volume. Brentano's famous passage as well as intentionality's object, content, and mode are introduced once again. This is not to say that the chapter is worthless. It should be noted that Crane introduces a new term to paraphrase intentionality which is self-transcendence. He also clarifies better, in my opinion, his use ofobject, i.e. "whatever it is on which your state of mind is directed" (151). That includes things that exist as well as things that do not. Next, Crane touches upon the relation of intentional mode and intentional content looking for what determines what and, then, he analyzes two sorts of intentionalism. Pure intentionalism (called also pure representationalism - remember that in the previous paper representationalism is presented as one of two versions of strong intentionalism), i.e. a claim that "the conscious character of a state of mind is determined by its intentional content alone" (154, or that "the phenomenal character of a conscious state of mind is determined by its representational or its intentional content" (169)) is rejected it in its both versions, strong (claiming the identity of the phenomenal character of a mental state with its representational content) as well as weak (considering the phenomenal character as determined or by supervening on its representational content). A better option is impure intentionalism, i.e. a thesis that "the entire mental character of a mental state is determined by its intentional nature" (158, or that "the phenomenal character of a conscious state is determined by its intentional content and its intentional mode" (169)), phenomenal character of a mental state included. At the end of the chapter (section 5), Crane discusses once again arguments in favor of sensations' and moods' being directed on some objects.

Part III is mostly about whether the intentional content of perception is propositional or conceptual. In The Non-conceptual Content of Experience (pp. 175-195) Crane asks if concepts determine the way things and, more generally, the world is perceived. The chapter is also about to what extent concepts are involved in an experience and what it does mean for an experience to have content without concepts. Crane suggests that a content is non-conceptual insofar as there is no necessity of possessing concepts to characterize canonically a state of whose the content is in question. Then he analyzes what it means for a state to have (or better: possess) conceptual and non-conceptual content ("[t]o possess a concept is to be in intentional states whose inferential relations are an appropriate function of their contents", (186)). Finally referring to cases of perceptual illusion, Crane argues that the idea of non-conceptual content is applicable to perception. In illusion perception is a different state than belief, since their contents are different: the latter's content is conceptual, while the former's is not. Concepts occur only after the content of perception has been conceptualized and this is what occurs in beliefs. As such, beliefs are about general facts which are not perceptible (this remark is patently Aristotelian in spirit)[[1]].

Is There a Perceptual Relation? (pp. 196-216, of which a refined title would be, as Crane suggests it in the introduction (174) Can experience be characterized essentially in terms of a relation to the existing objects of experience?, which is better because there is no doubt that there is a perceptual relation), is a discussion of disagreement between representationalism and qualia theory. But the very motive of discussing this disagreement is to deny Block's claim that it is "the 'greatest chasm in the philosophy of mind'" (197). As for the philosophy of perception, the existence of qualia is not, in Crane's view, an important issue at all. Crane disputes the transparency thesis by pointing out to non-real objects of an experience and, next, by appealing to examples of experiences in which instantiated are properties of this experiences, not of their object/s (e.g. experiencing things blurrily without experiencing these things as blurry). The partial denial of the transparency thesis makes of Crane an opponent of both representationalism and qualia theory. He can reject them both because while representationalism is undermined by argument from hallucination, qualia theory is undermined by argument from illusion. Discussing the question whether intentionality is or not a relation, Crane tells us that insofar as "perceptual representation is intrinsic to the perceptual state itself" (208), intentionality is not-relational to object of experience, though it could be said that it is relational to the propositional content of an experience. Crane mentions the disjunctivist theory which, in order to preserve the relationality of perception, proposes to account for genuine perception and hallucination separately. In the final section, Crane comes back to the theory of qualia, which is a form of intentionalism, and concludes that since "the debate about qualia should be seen as an in-house dispute among intentionalists" (215), the qualia theory is not an important issue within the whole philosophy of perception.

From this we can expect that Crane's answer to the question Is Perception a Propositional Attitude? (217-234) will be negative. The reader learns again about object and content within the theory of intentionality. New ideas are: aspect (in fact relatively new, since it has been presented already in Chapt. 5 & 7), absence (whether object of an intentional state is real or unreal) and accuracy. They are reasons for introducing the idea of content. A crucial claim Crane makes is that the content of an experience does not have to be propositional. The argument he relies on is that a proposition is either true or false while the content of an experience, say a picture, is neither true nor false. It is rather more or less accurate. The main difference between truth and accuracy is that the former does not admit of degrees while the latter does. By the same token, propositions are used to assert things what is not the case of pictures. Moreover, it seems absurd to speak about asserting or denying experiences what is the case of propositions. Experiences do not stand in logical relations either. The chapter ends with remarks on non-conceptual content of experience (the topic having been already presented in Chapt. 9).

The Given (pp. 235-255) is among the most recent texts (together with Chapt. 1, 13 & 16) and as such presents the best, I suppose, Crane's current position. Several distinctions are presented, e.g. a distinction between two meanings of experiential content (a phenomenological content, i.e. conveyed to the subject in an experience, and propositional content, i.e. what the subject brings to experience). Crane's main stress is on the distinction between concrete (real) content and general (abstract) content. The former is unrepeatable, while the latter can be shared in different experiences of the same subject or even by different subjects. (This distinction parallels the one between perception and belief, see below.) If the content of an unrepeatable experience can be described and thereby become propositional, the description is made by abstraction or generalization of the real and does not grasp all elements of the individual and concrete event. This is why the description of a representation is by no means representation itself. Representation is instantiated from a particular perspective, in a particular moment, in a particular experience. Representation is "specific to me and to this particular experience" (250). Hence there are two meanings or conception of content. Phenomenological content is "something spatiotemporal, concrete, particular, and specific to its subject" (254), while semantic content is propositional because it describes the phenomenological content. By saying that the phenomenological conception "has a certain priority" over the semantic one, Crane once again seems to side with, so to speak, the Aristotelian perspective in which the concrete precedes ontologically the abstract (but there is no word about Aristotle in the book).

Part IV is the shortest of all and its two last chapters (15 & 16) are strictly polemical. It mainly discusses anti-psychologistic assumptions of the kind as to impede "a proper understanding of the phenomenology of consciousness" (258). In Unconscious Belief and Conscious Thought (261-280) Crane starts with a qualification that the consciousness he has in mind is phenomenal consciousness, something that he takes for granted (maybe because "[a]ll theories of consciousness recognize" (phenomenal) consciousness' existence (262)). It can be neither reduced nor defined. His second claim concerns phenomenal intentionality, i.e. intentionality "relat[ing] to how things appear" (262). Crane's aim is to explain "how thought can be conscious in the same sense as sensation and sensory experiences" (263). After analyzing - once again in this volume - the qualia theory and the higher-order thought of consciousness as inadequate in accounting for consciousness involved in both thought and sensation (the former is rather inadequate as for thought, while the latter as for sensation), Crane discards Block's distinction of phenomenal consciousness and access consciousness as useless in accounting for consciousness occurring in both thought and sensation. Crane understands consciousness as an occurrence of bringing what is known to mind and not as a persisting state. The distinction between occurrence versus persisting state is the same as between something unfolding over time versus instantiation of properties. Since belief is a persisting state that lasts also when a person, say, goes to sleep, while a thought is "an episode of thinking something" (276), only the latter is conscious. To put it another way: "when reflecting consciously on one's belief" what is brought to mind is not another belief but a conscious thought. Crane concludes that, since thoughts and sensory experiences "are episodes or events in the 'stream' of a subject's consciousness" (278) which means that they occur as "events or processes that have a particular temporal extent and duration" (279), both are conscious in the same way.

Chapt. 14, 15 and 16 are attacking not as much physicalism itself as physicalists' arguments. In the essay Subjective Facts (281-297) the issue is about denying that all facts in the world are objective by pointing out to facts subjective in character. Crane relies on Jackson's knowledge argument based on a thought-experiment about Mary, yet he uses the argument in order to argue for the existence of subjective facts and not, as it is often used, against physicalism. For Crane objections of physicalists against the whole argument and its premises are wrong, but, notwithstanding, the argument itself does not undermine physicalism, since it only shows that there are such things as subjective, other than physical facts. Crane remarks that not only physics can tell nothing about how things are experienced but also any kind of scientific knowledge, be it psychology or physiology, cannot either. Accordingly, subjective facts are different from "'book-learning' facts" (293), facts that can be named as objective. And since there are facts which are learnt by "certain kinds of experience, or occup[y] a certain position in the world", there are subjective facts. They are subjective in the sense that their existence unlike the existence of, say, books depends on the existence of experiencing subjects. The existence of subjective facts are not, however, an argument against physicalism insofar as it amounts to a claim that facts in the sense of propositional knowledge are physical, yet physicalism should not claim that "physics must state all the facts" (296). Crane suggests that "a physicalist can (and should) sensibly deny that all knowledge is [...] physical knowledge" (296) - at least knowledge, as it is understood in the knowledge argument. As it is, representation of reality is not the same as reality itself, and facts about the former are not of the same nature as facts about the latter.

Papineau on Phenomenal Concepts (298-306) dismantles the idea of phenomenal concepts as they are understood by Papineau, especially in his refutation of anti-physicalist arguments. For Papineau phenomenal concepts are nothing but what involves or recreates their referents (for example "the pain is a constituent of the act of introspection" (299)). But, in fact, as Crane shows, this is not a phenomenal concept of some taste which makes someone recognize and, more importantly, remind the taste in question but rather an experience of tasting it.

The volume ends with Tye on Acquaintance and the Problem of Consciousness (307-315) which is a critical discussion of concept of (knowledge of) acquaintance. It is used by Tye to respond to anti-materialist arguments (e.g. the explanatory gap argument) by appealing to the distinction between knowledge by description and knowledge by acquaintance. Crane first demonstrates that Tye's notion of acquaintance is different from knowing things in ordinary sense and as such it must be a technical notion corresponding to something which "does not require knowledge of truths at all, it need not admit of degrees, and it is event-like" (311). It is about "a special kind of 'objectual knowledge' which we only get by being conscious" (312). It can be, therefore, satisfactory replaced by the notion of conscious experience of the world (experience is a way of getting knowledge and acquaintance refers to a special kind of experiences, e.g. seeing, hearing). At this point, Crane reiterates his claim that some truths about the world and some facts are known only be being experienced, e.g. non-propositional knowledge (seeing red for example). And to be experienced, he says, "the knower [is required] to have an experience" (314-315).

Crane states in the Preface that he was attentive to "correcting [...] occasional grammatical or bibliographical error[s]" (xii). Unfortunately insufficiently. Depending on paper, more or less misspellings or mistakes occur (e.g. four in the Introduction, unpublished previously; three on p. 22). There are errors in quotes and references too. For instance, what Brentano claims is not that "intentionality 'is characteristic exclusively of mental phenomena [...]'" (91), but that 'intentional in-existence is characteristic exclusively of mental phenomena' (this blunder must look surprising, since Crane is one of the editors of the series which republished the English translation of Brentano's work); A. Byrne's passage cannot come from p. 157 of his article (242), since it appeared on pp. 231-250 (as it results from References (347)). It is odd enough to see references to the papers, that have become now chapters of the volume, by pointing to their first version, in a journal for example, and not to the volume itself the reader has in hand. An example of this can be the following in the Chapt. 11: "[g]iven what I have said in this essay, it follows that I should withdraw my claim in this work [...]" (231) [my italics] - I am confused what both this do refer to. A reference is to The Non-conceptual Content of Experience, what now is Chapt. 9 of the volume. We read about Travis forthcoming work (238) but you would in vain look for its title. All this gives an impression that the volume is not satisfactorily set.

I think also that a general paper by Crane with the full structure of intentional act/state/intentionality would be a recommendable addition to the volume or at least a general table with taxonomy of views. Positions of a pure intentionalism being called pure representationalism, representationalism presented as one of two versions of strong intentionalism, weak and strong intentionalism, impure and pure intentionalism etc. would be more transparent, especially because the terminology applied by Crane is more than once variable. A couple of example will show the size of the problem. Once "two dimensions of variation in any intentional state of a subject" (130), i.e. mode and content, are stressed, once "three dimensions of variation in the ways one's states of mind might be directed upon an object" (157), i.e. object[[2]], mode and content are underscored. Aspectual shape is, together with directedness[[3]], one of two essential features of intentionality (see 129), then aspects are desire or fear (221). Yet, desire, as well as belief, and hope are called the intentional mode (130), but, then, belief and hope, together with perception or judgment are called attitudinal components (270). Maybe a remark "feeling and seeing [...] what Searle and I call mode, and what others would call attitude" (156) would make it more clear but still the reader can be affected by a kind of theaetetian dizziness. Crane defines content as "[t]he particular way in which the intentional object is represented" (152), but in a different chapter this very feature of being "always apprehended in a certain way" (104, 129: "always presented under a certain aspect, or in a certain way" (129)) is called aspectual shape, and in a different section of the same chapter Crane states: "presentation of an object with an aspectual shape is [...] intentional content" (135, see also 221: "fact that an object is represented under an aspect is [...] the content of that state")[[4]].

Crane gives a description of the structure of intentionality as follows: subject-intentional mode-intentional content (see 130). But this refers to intentional relation only, while a model of the full structure of intentionality would be helpful. All the more, aspect is on another occasion an idea coupled with absence and accuracy, and, moreover, we are told that "[t]hey do not all apply to each intentional state, but at least one of them applies to every kind" (221). Crane does not develop this point and we don't know under which conditions they apply or to what extent they are contingent or optional categories of an intentional state. Given all these elements, a beginner or less skillful reader can be lost. For the same reason a general, even schematic, overview would be welcome.

As Crane informs himself, "not everything [he] say[s] in the[se] essays is wholly consistent in the rest" (xii). I suppose nobody would look for the consistency here. However, given repetitiveness on the one hand, and inconsistency on the other one can ask how to read the whole volume. More specifically what to think about what can look as inconsistency within the same paper, for example in the Chapt. 11 we are told first that "it does not follow from the way I have introduced the notion of content that content must be propositional" (222), but then, in the conclusion, Crane says that he "ha[s] argued that experience does not have propositional content" (234), while a couple of lines below we read: "experience might be representational without being a propositional attitude". On the one hand, the chapters of the book can be read in any order whatsoever, as if they were written by several hands, but then the book is not representative since some issues are analyzed less (the case of consciousness[[5]]), while others are simply neglected (the case of affectivity[[6]]). On the other, it can be read as an evidence of Crane's philosophical evolution. In this last case the volume will serve as valuable scripta minora to Crane's fans. In both cases it can be, nonetheless, regarded as a useful lesson in philosophy as well as a vital contribution to a better understanding of what "[p]sychologism about the psychological" (255) is.




[[1]] It is curious that Crane's thesis about perception being non-propositional is close to Brentano's first class' feature, yet not referred to by Crane: a simple presentation without recognizing or denying it.

[[2]] Crane's elucidation of what object is is not clear enough to me. For instance, he says "[i]n the case of fear [...] what you fear is the object of your fear, not its content" (153-154). I am not sure if he is right saying that. I doubt if there is such a general thing like an object tout court. Maybe, even if you fear "the dog around the corner", this dog in meant in a certain aspect, the dog that I perceive as a danger to me and so on. Likewise, "[i]f I see a rabbit, the rabbit is the intentional object of my experience" (208) - but there is no rabbit simpliciter - it is such and such rabbit being so and so and I wonder how Crane understand in this context his own remarks about "the object presented under certain aspect and not under others" (129) or "[t]he particular way in which the intentional object is represented" (152). I would like to know more about what is and what constitutes aspect, mode and content in fearing a dog or seeing a rabbit. In a word, I think that an analysis of some examples with all categories applied altogether would be a nice picture of how Crane understands these terms.

[[3]] This must be directedness at another level, directedness of directedness so to speak, if we remember that intentionality is sometimes described as directedness (see 88) and we are still to claim that directedness and aspectual shape are two elements of intentionality.

[[4]] Crane does not spell out enough in what sense he speaks about experience, an ambiguous word in English. Has he in mind empirical experience (what is meant in German by Erfahrung) or experiential experience (Erlebnis)? For instance, both in Husserl and Wittgenstein (see e.g. Zettel 96 vs 189) we meet Erfahrung as well as Erlebnis and depending on translation, they are rendered by the same word or differently. I think in a treatment of the kind Crane offers us this should be better explicated. And the Indexdoes not help, since only one occurrence of experience is listed. This is striking insofar as Crane discusses it in detail more than once (e.g. 132, 217, 293-294, and more particularly 286 and (or versus ?) 287 where specifying if experience refers to experimental or experiential would be welcome).

[[5]] In what concerns Part IV, Crane tells us that it does not "present a systematic treatment of the problems of consciousness and the mind-body problem" (258). True, the fourth part is short and one could wonder if this is because Crane considers consciousness less important than, say, perception, or simply because he has less to say about it. It can suggest also that the three first parts are systematic treatments of, respectively, history of intentionality, intentionality and perception. I would like to learn more aboutattention (see 230) or dream(ing), perhaps as important as hallucination and illusion are for the book's topic.

[[6]] Even if Crane devotes some pages to affectivity, there is no treatment of affectivity in the volume. This is a serious lack. For instance, in Brentano affectivity (Gemütsbewegung) is one of three classes of psychical phenomena and as such it possesses features it does not share with presentation and judgment and as such needs a part or, at the least, a separate chapter.


© 2014 Robert Zaborowski


Robert Zaborowski,, Polish Academy of Sciences & University of Warmia and Mazury


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