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Brentano, Franz


Alessandro Salice


Pages 114 - 125



Franz Clemens Brentano (1838–1917) is one of the pivotal figures within the philosophical landscape around the turn of the twentieth century. Informed by a profound knowledge of the history of philosophy, his ideas grew mainly out of the work of Aristotle and the Scholastics, but Descartes and Leibniz, among others, were also significant and continuous influences on his thinking. During his career Brentano was particularly interested in trying to incorporate Aristotelian notions into post-Kantian philosophy. This project led him to develop some highly innovative insights, many of which played a decisive role within several domains of philosophical knowledge. This is especially true of Brentano’s descriptive psychology (with its cardinal thesis concerning the intentionality of the psychical), his metaphysics, his attempt to reform the classical syllogistics, as well as his theory of values. Such contributions came to constitute – if not the founding principles, then – the constant benchmarks for a multitude of reflections developed by that group of scholars which, following Brentano’s lectures in Würzburg and then later in Vienna, became known as the ‘Brentano-School’. The group counted among its members such thinkers as Christian von Ehrenfels, Edmund Husserl, Anton Marty, Alexius Meinong, Carl Stumpf and Kazimir Twardowski. The significance of Brentano’s mereological investigations in particular can be indirectly proven by the fact that almost all of his students tackled the relationships of parts to whole. Some applied Brentano’s results to other fields of research; others (most notably Husserl) developed mereological theories of their own.




1Philosophy Department, University College Cork



1 Antonelli, M., (2001), Seiendes, Bewußtsein, Intentionalität im Frühwerk von Franz Brentano, Freiburg/München: Alber.

2 Baumgartner, W.; Simons P., (1992)/93, “Brentanos Mereologie”, Brentano Studien 4: 53-77.

3 Brentano, F. (11862) 1960, Von der mannigfachen Bedeutung des Seienden nach Aristoteles, unver. Reimpr., Hildesheim: Olms. Eng. transl. by George, R., 1975, On the Several Senses of Being in Aristotle, Berkeley: University of California Press.

4 Brentano, F. (11874, 2008), Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkte. Von der Klassifikation der psychischen Phänomene, Sämtliche veröffentlichte Schriften, Band I, Binder, Th.; Chrudzimski, A. (eds.) Heusenstamm and Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag. Eng. transl. by Rancurello, A. C.; Terrell, D. B.; McAlister, L. 1973 (2nd ed., intr. by P. Simons, 1995), Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint, London: Routledge.

5 Brentano, F., (1933), Kategorienlehre, A. Kastil, ed., Leipzig: Meiner. Eng. transl. by Chisholm, R.; Guterman, N., 1981, The Theory of Categories, The Hague: Nijhoff.

6 Brentano, F., (1982), Deskriptive Psychologie, Chisholm, R. M.; Baumgartner, W. (eds.) Hamburg: Meiner. Eng. transl. by B. Müller, 1995, Descriptive Psychology, London: Routledge.

7 Chisholm, R. M., (1982), “Brentano’s theory of substance and accident”, in Chisholm, R. M. (ed.) Brentano and Meinong Studies, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 3-16.

8 Chisholm, R. M., (1986), Brentano and intrinsic value, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

9 Chrudzimski, A.; Smith, B., (2004), “Brentano’s ontology: from conceptualism to reism”, in Jacquette, D. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Brentano, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 197-219.

10 Mulligan, K.; Smith, B., (1985), “Franz Brentano on the ontology of mind”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 45-4: 627-644.

11 Mulligan, K.; Smith, B., (1982), “Pieces of a Theory”, in Smith, B. (ed.) Parts and Moments. Studies in Logic and Formal Ontology, Munich and Vienna: Philosophia Verlag, 15-108.

12 Simons, P., (1988), “Brentano’s Theory of Categories: A Critical Appraisal”, Brentano Studien 1: 47-61.

13 Smith, B., (1994), Austrian Philosophy: The Legacy of Franz Brentano, Chicago and LaSalle: Open Court.

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