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Brentano`s Psychology and the Problem of Intentionality of Sensuous Acts.

Project supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, CNCS – UEFISCDI.

Project no.: PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0661

Romanian version


The project aims to develop a new interpretation of the problem of intentionality and of the relationship between Brentano’s empirical and descriptive psychology. For this, the following ideas are advanced: (1) in his fundamental work from 1874, Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint, Brentano does not have a personal answer to the question of how psychology can develop into a science. For this reason he embraces the explanatory model of natural sciences and defines psychology as a science which studies the laws of succession and coexistence of psychic phenomena; (2) the contrast between the empirical psychology from 1874 and the latter developed descriptive psychology rests not in the fact that the first has not yet attained to the genetic – descriptive distinction, but in the fact that inside the descriptive psychology Brentano abandons the idea of relating the psychology to the model of explanatory science, and defines it as a descriptive science in search of the fundamental constituting elements of a psychical act; (3) the analysis of intentionality of sensuous acts (sensations, phantasy presentations) brings to the fore a new trend in Brentano’s psychological thought, different from the one usually deployed, and can provide solutions to important, and still unsolved problems of his psychology, like the intentional features of sensation and the classification of psychical acts.


  • philosophical psychology;
  • philosophy as science;
  • intentionality;
  • aristotelianism in the 19th century;
  • sensuous acts.


Project leader: Dr. Ion Tănăsescu

Dr. Ion Tănăsescu (b. 1964) is senior researcher II at the Romanian Society for Phenomenology (2011) and at the Romanian Academy’s Institute of Philosophy (1992), doctor in philosophy with a thesis on Brentano’s intentionality (1998), member of Internationale Franz Brentano Gesellschaft from Würzburg and of the Romanian Society for Phenomenology, member in the editorial board of the journal Revista de filozofie and of Revue roumaine de philosophie; awarded scholarships: DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst), NEC (New Europe College) and FWF Lise-Meitner (Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung); areas of interest: late XIXth to early XXth century metaphysics and psychological philosophy, Aristotelian metaphysics and Aristotelian psychology.


  • Principiul intenţionalităţii la Franz Brentano (The principle of intentionality in Brentano) 2004. Edited books: Franz Brentano et la philosophie 2011;
  • Imaginaţie şi intenţionalitate. Perspective istorico-fenomenologice şi sistematice (Imagination and Intentionality. Historical-Phenomenological and Systematic Perspectives) 2008;
  • Filosofia austriacă. Origini – Specific – Reprezentanţi (The Austrian Philosophy. Origins – Characteristics – Representatives) (with C. Stoenescu) 2005;
  • Argumentul ontologic. Perspective tradiţionale şi interpretări moderne (The Ontological Argument. Traditional Perspectives and Modern Interpretations) 2004;
  • The School of Brentano and Husserlian Phenomenology (with V. Popescu) 2003;
  • Conceptul de intenţionalitate la Brentano. Origini şi interpretări (The Concept of Intentionality by Brentano. Origins and Interpretations) 2002;
Translations into Romanian:
  • Bernhard Waldenfels, Die Skizze einer responsiven Phenomenology (2006);
  • Franz Brentano, Von der mannigfachen Bedeutung des Seienden nach Aristoteles (2003);
  • Franz Brentano, “Von dem Unterschiede der psychischen und physischen Phänomene” (Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt, 109-140);

Dr. Ion Tănăsescu has published numerous articles in collective volumes and in the following journals: Analele Universităţii Bucureşti, Brentano Studien, New Europe College Yearbook, Revista de filosofie, Revue roumaine de philosophie, Studia Phaenomenologica, Studia Universitas Babeş-Bolyai.

Research Topics:

10. 2011 – 09. 2012: The Aristotelianism of young Brentano

10. 2012 – 09. 2013: Empiric and descriptive in the accomplishment of the psychology as a science in Brantano

10. 2013 – 09. 2014: The problem of intentionality of sensuous acts in Brentano

Team Member: Dr. Elena Băltuță

Dr. Elena Băltuță (b. 1982) is doctor in philosophy with a thesis on Thomas Aquinas’s problem of intentionality (2011), researcher at the Romanian Society for Phenomenology (2011), member in the directory board and councillor in S.I.T.A. – Societa Internazionale San Tommaso D’Aquino –, the Romanian branch. Scholarships awarded: (March – August 2005) Erasmus at the University of Konstanz, Germany, (1 April – 30 November 2010) European Social Found POSDRU- 6/1.5/S/25/2008, at the Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Dominik Perler; during the same period she was visiting PhD Student at the Leibniz Preis Projekt “Transformations of Mind: Philosophical Psychology, 1500-1750”, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany. Areas of interest: medieval philosophy, medieval epistemology, intentionality, modern Austrian philosophy.


Contributions to collective volumes:
  • “Toma din Aquino. Problema intenționalității în Summa contra Gentiles (Thomas Aquinas. The Problem of Intentionality in Summa contra Gentiles)”, in Heresy and Logos, (ed. Gh. Petraru), AXIS, 2009, ISBN 978-973-7742-73-5, pp. 173-201;
  • “Sf. Atanasie și Arie. Perspective asupra discursului (St. Athanasius and Arius. Disscours Perspectives)”, in Adversus Haereses. Filosofie crestina si dialog cultural, Vol. II, (ed. T. Ghideanu), Editura Lumen, Iaşi, 2008, ISBN 973-166-052-6;
  • “Platon și primele secole creștine. Ousia ca fuziune a orizonturilor. (Plato and the First Christian Centuries. Ousia as a Perspective of the Fusion of Horizons)”, in Adversus Haereses. Filosofie crestina si dialog cultural, Vol. I, (ed. T. Ghideanu), Editura Lumen, Iaşi, 2008, ISBN – 978-973-1703-68-8.
  • “Remarks on Thomas Aquinas‘s Philosophy of Mind: Intentionality”, in Chora. Revues d’études anciennes et médiévales, nr. 7-8, 2009-2010, Editura Polirom, Iasi, 2011, ISBN 1583-8617;
  • “A Medieval Approach to Intentionality. The case of Thomas Aquinas”, in Perspectives contemporaines sur le monde médiéval, Pitesti 4-6 Dezember 2009, nr.1/2009, TIPARG Verlag, pp. 355-359.

Dr. Elena Băltuță has published a number of articles in journals like: Analele Universității “Al. I. Cuza” Iași, Symposion, Hermeneia.

She is contributor of the Online Encyclopedia of Romanian Philosophy (articles on Aurelian Tache, Nicolae Terchilă, Ioan Gheorghe Savin, Emilian Vasilescu) and of the cultural journal Convorbiri literare (June 2007 – September 2011).

Research Topics:

10. 2011 – 09. 2012: The Thomistic influence on Brentano’s dissertation

10. 2012 – 09. 2013: The Thomistic influence on Brentano’s habilitation

10. 2013 – 09. 2014: The Thomistic influence on Brentano’s Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint