Dennett on intentional systems

Philosophical Topics 12 (1):39-62 (1981)
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During the last dozen years, Daniel Dennett has been elaborating an interconnected – and increasingly influential – set of views in the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of psychology, and those parts of moral philosophy that deal with the notions of freedom, responsibility, and personhood. The central unifying theme running through Dennett's writings on each of these topics is his concept of an intentional system. He invokes the concept to “legitimize” mentalistic predicates ("Brainstorms", p. xvii), to explain the theoretical strategy of cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence, and, ultimately, to attempt a reconciliation between “our vision of ourselves as responsible, free, rational agents, and our vision of ourselves as complex parts of the physical world of science” (BS, p. x). My goal in this paper is to raise some doubts about the “intentional coin” (BS, p. xviii) with which Dennett proposes to purchase his moral and “mental treasures.”



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Stephen Stich
Rutgers - New Brunswick

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Tactical deception in primates.A. Whiten & R. W. Byrne - 1988 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (2):233-244.
Functionalism.Janet Levin - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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