Daniel Dennett (March 28, 1942 - Present)

  • "Content and Consciousness"

    Dennett, D C. Content and Consciousness. New York: Humanities Press, 1969. Print.
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    Dennett's Major Works

    Content and Consciousness (1969), Consciousness Explained (1991), Darwin's Dangerous Idea (1995), Kinds of Minds: Towards an Understanding of Consciousness (1996), Intentional Systems Theory (1971), Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (2007), Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? (2011)
  • 1. The Three Stances

    The first is the intentional stance which we have already touched upon. The second is physical stance, which uses what is already known about physical sciences such as laws of physics and physical constitution to devise a prediction. The third is the design stance, the assumption that on object - or thing has a specific design and will operate according to that design.
  • 2. The broad domain of the Intentional Stance

    The central claim that when treating ourselves and others as intentional systems, we use "attributions of beliefs and desires to govern our interactions and generate our anticipations" (Dennett 1971). The ability to understand the vast array of human interactions is, in most capacities innate to normal people, which seems to make the intentional stance difficult for the general population to understand.
  • 3. Original intentionality versus derived intentionality

    Derived intentionality is said to be metaphorical and original intentionality is viewed as literal. Dennett's theory challenges these distinctions, claimed that "there is no principled (theoretically motivated) way to distinguish 'original' intentionality from 'derived' intentionality, and there is no continuum of cases of legitimate attributions, with no theoretically motivated threshold distinguishing the 'literal' from the 'metaphorical'..." (Dennett 1971).
  • 4. Objections considered

    "The fact that the theory is maximally neutral about its internal structures that accomplish the rational competencies it presupposes has led to several attempted counterexamples" (Dennett 1971). These include The Martian Marionette (Peacock 1983) and the Giant Lookup Table (Block 1982), which used the stance to attribute thoughts, beliefs, and well-informed desires to specific structures. This was opposed to the actual belief that it should be attributed to the autonomy of the structure.
  • "Intentional Systems Theory"

    This work breaks down the 'mentalistic' terms that we use to interpret, explain, and predict the behavior of humans, animals, artificial intelligence, and even ourselves. The intentional stance is the strategy used to interpret the behaviors of such entities, "Anything that is usefully and voluminously predictable from the intentional stance is, by definition, an intentional system".
    Dennett, D., 1971. Intentional systems. Journal of Philosophy, 68, 87–106.
  • "Consciousness Explained"

    Dennett, D C. Consciousness Explained. Boston: Little, Brown and Co, 1991. Print.
  • "Darwin's Dangerous Idea"

    Dennett, Daniel C. Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. Print.
  • "Kinds of Minds: Toward an Understanding of Consciousness"

    Dennett, D C. Kinds of Minds: Toward an Understanding of Consciousness. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1996. Print.
  • "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon"

    Dennett, Daniel C. Breaking the Spell: Religion As a Natural Phenomenon. London: Penguin Books, 2007. Print.
  • "Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?"

    Dennett, Daniel C, and Alvin Plantinga. Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2011. Print.