“The relevance of the concept of Intention in the explanation of Mind-Brain Interaction”
Experimental research groups are making significant efforts in order to shorten the gap between social sciences and empirical sciences as they try to understand bidirectional interactions between motivations and neuro-physiological processes. However, the efforts of experimental neuro-psychologists need to be accompanied by an identical philosophical effort. This paper will analyse the role of motivations in human behaviour, and explain its intentional -both cultural and organic dependent- nature. The notion of intention can be applied to complex conscious cognitive processes such as religious or moral feelings, which seem to derive form top-down causality. The traditional Aristotelian meaning of intention will fit well in these particular cases. On the other hand, it can also be applied to unconscious or pre-conscious feelings such as fear or shame. But in this case the meaning of the word intention should be broadened in order to include pre-linguistic emotional processes. Charles Taylor’s defence of intentionality, his analysis of “pre-interpretation” and of the expressive dimension of feelings will help us to accomplish this task. Finally, intention can be applied to those processes related to basic physiological needs, which prove to be paradigmatic-upward in nature. The relevance of intentionality in the explanation of Mind-Brain interaction lies in the recognition of the importance of final causality in the explanation of human behaviour, as complementary to efficient causality. Furthermore, it guides us to a better understanding of what it is to be a Person, since it leads us to a deeper understanding of free will, choice and compromise.