The primacy of skilled intentionality: on Hutto & Satne's The Natural Origins of Content

J. Kiverstein, E. Rietveld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle*Academicpeer-review


Following a brief reconstruction of Hutto & Satne’s paper we focus our critical comments on two issues. First we take up H&S’s claim that a non-representational form of ur-intentionality exists that performs essential work in setting the scene for content-involving forms of intentionality. We will take issue with the characterisation that H&S give of this non-representational form of intentionality. Part of our commentary will therefore be aimed at motivating an alternative account of how there can be intentionality without mental content, which we have called skilled intentionality. Skilled intentionality is the individual’s selective openness and responsiveness to a rich landscape of affordances. A second issue we take up concerns the distinction between ur-intentionality and content-involving intentionality. We will argue that our notion of skilled intentionality as it is found in humans cuts across these two categories. Instead of distinguishing between different forms of intentionality we recommend focusing on how skilled intentionality takes different forms in different forms of life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-721
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015

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