Intentionality and Ethology: Differences in the approaches of John Stuart Mill and Franz Brentano

Evandro O. Brito


The point of this paper is to present a historical introduction to the notion of intentionality as it occurred in the context of philosophical and scientific research on ethology, namely the science of the formation of character. My argumentative strategy will be to maintain that both John Stuart Mill, in his work Logic of the Moral Sciences, and Franz Brentano, in his work Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint, explicitly agreed that Psychology was the science of elementary laws of mind and that Ethology was the science that corresponds with the art of education in the broadest sense. Thus first, I will analyze the converging points of both theories, and second, I will argue that the fundamental difference between the Psychologies of Mill and Brentano is the fact that Brentano's thesis did not recognize the fundamental Millian assumption, i.e., the assumption that the causal relations between mental phenomena should be the Psychological object of study from which the mental law is established. Through my analysis I intend to demonstrate that for Brentano, the mental phenomenon, while a matter of study for Psychology, is itself the fundamental relation between the physical phenomenon and the mental phenomenon. This fundamental relation can be characterized by its intentional nature, which makes explicit the description of the physical phenomenon as the content or object of the mental phenomenon. The consequence of this Brentanian thesis implies that the theoretical basis of Ethology also results from the investigation of the intentional nature of the mental phenomenon.


Intentionality. Ethology. Franz Brentano. John Stuart Mill.

Texto completo:



ISSN 2179-9180



Image result for logo latindex
Image result for indexador de revistas
Image result for sumá
 Image result for qualis capes