Intentionality and Continuity of Experience


  • André Leclerc Universidade de Brasília - UnB.



My aim is to provide an analysis of cognitive experience from the point of view of philosophy of mind, by identifying and describing different components or features present in it. But different things are called ‘experience’ and some are more complex than other. I will first examine different uses of the word ‘experience’ to clear the way and to avoid cases of circularity. Then I try to restrict the investigation and introduce the mode (character) and content of experience, and take BonJour’s suggestion of what cognitive experience is as a starting point. In my view, the two main features of experience are Horizontal Intentionality (which produces Phenomenal Continuity) and Vertical Intentionality. The first is the most striking and fundamental; it constitutes the continuity of experience. Vertical Intentionality selects objects of experience, so that our experience is always experience of something. In Perception, something is identified and recognized by the application of concepts. Attention is required, especially when we get involved in complicated operations or manipulations. Finally, the last feature is constituted by a huge set of dispositions, particularly abilities to keep track our thoughts and former experiences. Cognitive Experience in the full sense is the result of the interaction and mutual support of these features.

Author Biography

André Leclerc, Universidade de Brasília - UnB.

Doutor em Filosofia pela Université du Quebec em 1990. Atualmente é professor associado da Universidade de Brasíla.