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A Medieval View of Practical Intentionality

Intentio in Aquinas’s Psychology of Action

Zurück zum Heft: Phänomenologische Forschungen 2018-2


  • | Kapitel kaufen Titelei1
  • | Kapitel kaufen Inhalt3
  • | Kapitel kaufen Jörn Müller & Michel Summa: Introduction: Modes of Intentionality. Phenomenological and Medieval Perspectives5
  • | Kapitel kaufen Beiträge25
  • | Kapitel kaufen José Filipe Silva: Intentionality in Medieval Augustinianism25
  • | Kapitel kaufen Nicholas A. Oschman: The Constitution of the Intellect and the Farabian Doctrine of First and Second Intention45
  • | Kapitel kaufen Gianfranco Soldati: Appearances and Illusions61
  • | Kapitel kaufen Luca De Giovanni: Husserl on Intentionality and Attention. From the Logical Investigations to Genetic Phenomenology81
  • | Kapitel kaufen Diego D'Angelo: A Phenomenology of Creative Attention. Merleau-Ponty and Philosophy of Mind.99
  • | Kapitel kaufen Antony Fredriksson: The Alien World, Attention and the Habitual117
  • | Kapitel kaufen Roberta De Monticelli: Intentionality, Agency and Personhood. Outline of a Phenomenological Theory of Acts135
  • | Kapitel kaufen Jörn Müller: A Medieval View of Practical Intentionality. Intentio in Aquinas’s Psychology of Action155
  • | Kapitel kaufen Michela Summa & Karl Mertens: On the Role of Attention and Ascription in the Formation of Intentions within Behavior177
  • | Kapitel kaufen Jan Slaby: Affective Arrangements and Disclosive Postures. Towards a Post-Phenomenology of Situated Affectivity197


Intentio is a widespread concept in the writings of Thomas Aquinas (1224/5–1274). This article focuses on its use in the description and explanation of human action because Aquinas is the first author to elaborate a coherent conception of practical intentionality in the history of Western philosophy. The analysis shows that his account is characterized by five distinctive features: Practical intentionality is (1) an active striving toward a causally relevant intentional object (i. e., a goal), which is not ‘in the mind’, (2) a volitional state of mind rather than a distinct mental event, (3) action-guiding because it is a principle of concrete human actions which realize it, (4) essentially tied up with rationality, which is needed for bridging the operational distance to the final goal by deliberation on the means conducive to it, (5) potentially complex – allowing for a plurality of simultaneous intentions – but at the same time unified in the hierarchical ordering of means and ends. The article also relates these features to modern discussions of intentionality in phenomenology and in analytic philosophy