Um Exame de Objeções a Ryle sobre o Funcionamento dos Termos Psicológicos Intencionais

  • Filipe Lazzeri
  • Jorge M. Oliveira-Castro


This paper briefly presents an account, partially based upon Ryle’s approach, of the functions of intentional psychological terms as they are used in ordinary language. According to this account, intentional psychological terms describe known patterns of behavior that are determined by selective mechanisms of causation. That is, these terms describe relations between certain responses, selected on the basis of the consequences they produce in the environment, and contexts of their occurrence, to which they become associated. Intentional psychological terms do not point to inner causes of a given behavior, but can explain it only in the sense of stating that it could be expected to occur, if we can identify its behavior pattern and the context in which it occurs. We proceed then to examine three main objections that have been raised against Ryle’s position, namely: (a) Davidson’s challenge to the non-causal accounts of reason-explanations; (b) Armstrong’s worries about “leaving the counterfactuals hanging in the air”; and (c) the holistic objection to the (wrongly) presumed Ryle’s atomism. We aim at showing that none of these objections pose serious problems to the proposed account.