[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Ethics
I. Philosophy In the context of action theory,
intentionality (from Lat.
intentio) usually denotes an aim or purpose.
Intentionality is understood both in the sense of the will that initiates actions and in the sense of the motive or motivation that guides both volition and action. In other philosophical contexts, the prevailing understanding of intentionality goes back to the turn of the 20th century in the work of E. Husserl, who drew in turn on his teacher F. Brentano. In his major work
Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt, vol. I, 1874 (ET:
Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint, 1973, 21995), Brentano developed the intentional structure of mental acts or processes such as thought and feeling. In this structure, every such act is directed toward an object or content whose “immanent objectivity” (124) is distinguished from the mental act itself as “intentional (probably including mental) inexistence” (124), so that, according to Brentano, mental acts always point to another of their own through their relationship to some content. In his