A scholastic-Cartesian schema faithfully maps ordinary, effective ways of dealing with intentionality; yet its apparent incoherence provokes philosophers into opting for one of two stances, ‘Cartesian’ or ‘direct realist’, seemingly incompatible, yet each seemingly in accord with ordinary thought. A wide range of canonical and current theories, realist, idealist and hybrid, essentially involve one option or the other. We should instead consider why the language of intentionality, with its apparent anomalies, works so well. Released from the obligation to opt for one stance over the other, we can identify a robust realism different in kind from anything currently on offer.

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