San Raffaele School of Philosophy - SRSP

San Raffaele School of Philosophy 2021 - SRSP

Mind, Language, and the First-Person Perspective

San Raffaele School of Philosophy 2021 - Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan- September 28-30, 2021

Special issue of the journal Phenomenology and Mind

What is the intrinsic nature of mental phenomena? What makes it the case that mental events, states, and properties are mental? How tight is the relation between language and what counts as mental?  
​According to Franz Brentano (1874), who famously revived the debate over the mark of the mental in the late 19th century, intentionality is the necessary and sufficient condition for something to be a mental phenomenon. This criterion, which has been by and large embraced by philosophers of mind over the past century, has recently come under criticism and a number of alternative candidates have been proposed. Being conscious and having a phenomenal character have prominently been listed as possible marks of the mental (e.g. Block 1995, Loar 2003, Strawson 2004, Farkas 2008, Kriegel 2011, Montague 2016).
The 2021 San Raffaele School of Philosophy “Mind, Language, and the First-Person Perspective” will explore the nature and tenability of such emerging views, as well as of other potential alternatives to Brentano’s criterion.
The boundaries of the mark of the mental will also be approached from the perspective of classic phenomenology (Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Reinach, Scheler, Stein), by addressing the issue of the qualitative varieties of intentionality.
The School will finally zoom in on the connection between language and the phenomena and processes we regard as mental. Focus will be particularly laid on the role that our cognitive perspectives (or perspectival thoughts, Camp 2013, 2017) play in the interpretation of pejorative language (e.g. slurs), moral and aesthetical language (e.g. ‘thick’ terms), and other linguistic expressions that seem to encode or otherwise convey a first-person positioning.

The School is organized within the “Mark of the Mental” (MOM) Research Project  funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR), and will host both invited lectures and contributions by PhD students, post-docs, and more experienced researchers selected through a double-blind peer-review process. 

Accepted papers will be published in a Special Issue of Phenomenology and Mind (expected publication date: June 2022). Phenomenology and Mind is indexed in Scopus and in The Philosopher’s Index.

The School will be held on-site or online depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.
​In any case, we will do our best to meet the needs of invited speakers and selected contributors.

For further information, please contact Marta Benenti ( and/or Laura Caponetto ( 

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