Franz Brentano

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Brentano, Franz


Born Jan. 16, 1838, in Marienburg; died Mar. 17, 1917, in Zürich. German philosopher and direct precursor of the phenomenology of E. Husserl.

Brentano began his career as a Catholic priest; later, he was a professor of philosophy in Würzburg (from 1872) and Vienna (from 1874). In his philosophy, the point of departure is the definition of a sharp boundary between physical and psychic phenomena. According to Brentano, the generic characteristic common to all psychic phenomena is their intentionality: consciousness is always in relation to something real or unreal—I become aware of, I feel, I think something. The physical object as such is not intentional: it is an existence resting in itself. Research on psychic phenomena is the task of psychology, which Brentano classifies as descriptive and genetic. Descriptive psychology describes the last elements from which integral consciousness is constructed and establishes their classification. Genetic psychology establishes the laws to which the phenomena of consciousness are subordinate. Phenomenology was an outgrowth of the idea of descriptive psychology (in essence, a philosophical discipline).

Brentano’s concept of truth is connected with the idealistic interpretation of the theory of the objectivity of consciousness. According to Brentano, the experience of the evident, which is in itself further indefinable, lies at the basis of the concept of truth. Breaking down all judgments into three classes—judgments of outer perception, judgments of memory, and axioms—Brentano asserts that only judgments of inner perception and axioms are directly evident. The problem of truth is the problem of the empirical foundation of knowledge, with inner experience playing the decisive role. Since subjects of inner experience and, consequently, subjects of direct perception are only psychological phenomena in Brentano’s theory, one can speak only of the existence of psychological phenomena; one can speak of the external world only with a certain probability.

Brentano’s views were not given a complete and systematic exposition. His idealism followed the path from subjective to objective. Although he sharply criticized Kant’s apriorism, Brentano himself was not very far from Kant’s position, admitting the existence of a priori apodictic judgments. The most contradictory, vague idea in Brentano’s theory was “evidence, ” which became the main point in a critique of his concept.

Writing at a time when the slogan “back to Kant!” was popular, Brentano turned to pre-Kantian philosophy, especially the Scholastic interpretation of Aristotle, but kept in mind the achievements of German classical idealism. This complex synthesis laid the foundation for changes in the treatment of the subject of philosophy that are characteristic of a number of tendencies in modern bourgeois philosophy, in which the subject and his internal world were made the object of philosophic analysis. K. Stumpf, E. Husserl, A. Meinong, M. Scheler, and M. Heidegger accepted the theory of intentionality. Brentano’s logical doctrine and his work in the field of the criticism of language have been continued in modern empiricism, particularly analytic philosophy. Brentano had a significant influence on the development of psychology.


Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt. Hamburg, 1955.
Vom Ursprung sittlicher Erkenntnis. Hamburg, 1955.
Grundlegung und Aufbau der Ethik. Bern, 1952.


Bakradze, K. S. Ocherki po istorii noveishei i sovremennoi burzhuaznoi filosofii. Tbilisi, 1960.
Kastil, A. Die Philosophic F. Brentanos: Eine Einführung in seine Lehre. Munich, 1951.
Cruz, H. M. Fr. Brentano. Salamanca, 1953.
Bergmann, G. Realism: A Critique of Brentano and Meinong. Madison, Wis., 1967. (Bibliography.)


References in periodicals archive ?
Con todo, el libro no solo gira en torno al pensamiento de Edmund Husserl, sino que tambien la pone en relacion con los planteamientos eticos de Max Scheler y de Franz Brentano, asi como con la teoria de los actos sociales de Adolf Reinach.
This paper attempts to demonstrate that the shared ethical judgment is defensible for both on the grounds of the same metaethical assumptions--the value theory of Franz Brentano.
He describes the concept and its development since the he introduced it in Towards a Philosophy of Critical Mathematics Education; students' perspectives on math, teaching, and their lives in Brazil; and the concepts of intentionality and life-world from Franz Brentano and Edmund Husserl and reinterpretations of them in terms of real-life experiences that are socially structured and restructured through economic, political, cultural, and discursive factors.
This excellent introduction to one Kafka, which conceals none of his sordid and indeed often violent fantasies, turns him into a patient, and this obscures another, important, we could say "future Kafka," the one who diagnosed patients besides himself, the one who worked on the thought, politics, and art of Europe from Homer and Genesis to Franz Brentano.
Introduccion: Franz Brentano y el problema de los objetos intencionales
El objetivo central del segundo capitulo ("La presencia de Aristoteles en los origenes de la concepcion heideggeriana del Ser") es demostrar que la recepcion que Heidegger hace de Aristoteles se encuentra mediada por aquellas de Franz Brentano y de Carl Braig.
He mounts a vigorous and detailed argument in support of the candidacy of Bettina von Arnim (1795-1859), Antonie Brentano's sister-in-law, a correspondent of both Goethe and Beethoven, and the half-sister of Clemens and Franz Brentano, Antonie's husband.
Ora, a nocao de intencionalidade que Husserl desenvolve a partir da doutrina de seu mestre Franz Brentano esta expressa no famoso lema que diz que "toda consciencia e consciencia de alguma coisa".
Tal concepto, aunque de procedencia aristotelica, ha sido introducido en el pensamiento moderno a traves de lo dilucidado por Franz Brentano en Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint.
Franz Brentano (1838-1917) es un filosofo poco divulgado pero muy influyente, cuyo pensamiento sintetizaba empirismo de corte aristotelico (la idea de que los conceptos se forman a partir de la experiencia), metafisica teista (el fundamento primero y ultimo de las cosas es divino), psicologia introspectiva y asociacionista y una gran confianza en que la ciencia natural (sobre todo la fisica) descubre el mundo material tal como es.
Por ello, la quinta investigacion de Investigaciones Logicas, esta dedicada a delimitar algunos conceptos de su maestro Franz Brentano, empezando por el de "fenomenos siquicos" especialmente en el capitulo segundo, donde explicita el tema de La Conciencia como Vivencia Intencional, a fin de poder precisar en sentido fenomenologico, cual es la caracteristica fundamental que mas le conviene a la conciencia, lo cual exige a su vez, dilucidar los terminos de conciencia, vivencia e intencion, conceptos fundamentales desde este periodo especifico de la evolucion del pensamiento husserliano.
Consistent with the spirit of the Enlightenment, Sigmund Freud who once pondered the existence of God with Professor Franz Brentano, barred religion from the psychoanalytic stage, pronouncing it as mere illusion.