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Abstract

Husserl and Searle agree that, for a bodily movement to be an action, it must be caused by a propositional representation. Husserl's representation is a mental state whose intentional content is what the agent is trying to do; Searle thinks of the representation as a logical structure expressing the action's conditions of satisfaction. Merleau-Ponty criticises both views by introducing a kind of activity he calls motor intentionality, in which the agent, rather than aiming at success, feels drawn to reduce a felt tension. I argue that Searle can account for Merleau-Ponty's kind of coping only by broadening his notion of propositional representation to include indexicals, but that, in so doing, he covers up the way representational intentionality depends upon motor intentionality.