Last time I mentioned that Brentano was developing a “science of consciousness” and promised I would explain. Brentano’s claim that the true method of philosophy would be that of the natural sciences was not a throwaway remark or provocative soundbite, but seriously meant as the starting point of an encompassing research program and as a core tenet of his school. Given his distinction between internal and external perception, you might think that this would then lead to a strict distinction between the natural sciences and the mental ones, the Natur- and the Geisteswissenschaften. However, I also mentioned in my first post that Brentano had petitioned the Austrian government for funding for a psychological laboratory to do experimental research. So which kind of perception is involved in psychology? Is his science of consciousness a natural science or not? How should we investigate the mind and consciousness?
This is still an open problem and it would be great if an analysis of Brentano’s approach could contribute something to current debates. So what are the current requirements for a “science of consciousness”?