Moore and Brentano: Realism and Reflexivity

23 Mar 2022 05.00 PM - 06.30 PM Alumni, Current Students, Industry/Academic Partners, Prospective Students, Public
Organised by:
Lilith Lee

It has been argued by a number of authors that early analytic philosophy of mind is in many ways ‘Brentanian’.  I revisit the arguments of G.E. Moore’s famous Refutation of Idealism in order to highlight one stark contrast: Moore’s influential realism about awareness commits him (and his followers like the early Russell) to a very un-Brentanian view of awareness of awareness.  
It is an interesting question whether this view of awareness of awareness falls to Brentano’s criticisms of ‘higher-order’ theories of awareness of awareness.  I concentrate on the converse question of whether realism about awareness articulates a compelling objection to (increasingly popular) Brentanian ‘same-order’ theories of awareness of awareness.  If objects of awareness are ‘there anyway’, then how could awareness be of itself?

Rory Madden is Associate Professor in Philosophy at University College London.  He works primarily on questions about personal identity and self-consciousness.