If there is a common theme through the rich diversity of Max Charlesworth’s academic life and works, it is the quest to understand human action as meaningful, significant and subject to interpretation rather than reducible to the explanatory techniques of positivistic science. This orientation is summed up in the philosophical concept of intentionality. Intentionality is a key notion for continental philosophers whose ideas formed the subject-matter of Max’s legendary course in ‘Contemporary European Philosophy’ at Melbourne University and later, of the foundation philosophy programs at Deakin University. The origins of the concept of intentionality are to be found in mediaeval philosophy – another of Max’s teaching areas, and a commitment to intentionality is deeply implicit in his engagement with the religious and the spiritual as well as with ethics.

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