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Emerald Altenwerth
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Clare Batty

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Clare Batty
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This 18 page Class Notes was uploaded by Emerald Altenwerth on Friday October 23, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PHI 575 at University of Kentucky taught by Clare Batty in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 18 views. For similar materials see /class/228284/phi-575-university-of-kentucky in PHIL-Philosophy at University of Kentucky.




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Date Created: 10/23/15
Philosophy 575 January 27 2009 Prof Clare Batty N 3 4 Behaviorism Recap The Cartesian Mind According to Ryle the Cartesian mind has the following features a nonmaterial the mind does not exist in space nor is it subject to physical laws b private it is not possible to have access to the mental states of other minds c transparent and immediately accessible if you are in a certain mental state you are in a position to know it We have unmediated access to the contents of our mind unlike our access to things in the external world which is mediated by the senses 53 internal but not really internal e temporal but nonespatial Rylean Problems with Substance Dualism The problem of other minds All we have contact with are the bodies of other people How can we ever know that other minds in the world exist or know what they are like If we only have direct access to our own minds how do we know that other people aren tjust robots in human form As Ryle claims Absolute solitude is on this showing the ineluctable destiny of the soul Only our bodies can meet 34 The problem of the acquisition of psychological language On the Cartesian view it remains a mystery how we could have even learned the meaning of psychological terms After all on the Cartesian picture terms like lpain lbelief desire and so on refer to causes of certain sortsicauses to which the owner himherself only has access It is hard to see how psychological terms entered public language such as English given that psychological terms do not refer to states or events to which there is interesubjective access Rylean Diagnosis of their Origin Descartes was faced with two con icting views i The view that mechanical laws exist and apply to every physical object ii The view that human beings have free will and an immortal soul Descarte s resolution posit another separate realm for the mind similar to the physical world but with none physical laws and causes objects and eventsi the same only different Descartes Legg Descartes Dogma of a Ghost in the Machine i Every human being has both a body and a mind The body In space extended in time subject to physical laws public The mind In time but not space not subject to physical laws private 2 Privileged Access Everyone has a special kind of infallible access to the contents of her own mental states So there is something that is directly Civen in experience Equot The Legacy of the Ghost we have fallen into the trap of assuming that our psychological language refers to events in and states of this Cartesian mind or the Cartesian Ghost in the Machine eg Considerthe sentence Sally is in lots of pain When you utterthis sentence you must be referring to some inner distinctly mental state or event of Sally s Or Jake believes that is going to snow today When I utter this sentence I must be referring to some inner distinctly mental state ofJake s But according to Ryle this rests on a mistake Ryle The Dogma rests on a Category Mistake Category Mistake Attributing a property P to a thing 0 when P not only does not apply to 0 but also isn t the right sort of property to apply to anything of of 0 s kind Example Someone visits UK and is shown Patterson Memorial Hall the Student Center Young Library the Coliseum Tolly Ho etc and then says okay now show me the university The mistake that they re making is in thinking that the University exists in the same way that these other things do But it doesn t It s a more abstract entity which relates all of these locations among other things to each other These illustrations of categoryemistakes have a common feature which must be noticed The mistakes were made by people who did not know how to wield the concepts University division and team spirit Their puzzles arose from inability to use certain items int e English vocabulary Someone who thinks that the mind exists in the same sense as the body it s just made of a different stuff is guilty of a category mistake These are things in very different sense of the word thing We know how to use the words belief pain and so on but we take it that these terms refer to inner mental episodes or states ie the private causes of our public bodily actions But they do not Logical Behaviorism What comes after Descartes Logical Positivism Veri cation Criterion ofMeaningfuness A sentence S has meaning iff it is capable of being verified either directly or indirectly What about statements about seemingly private subjective psychological states eg those of the form X is in pain X believes that Pittsburgh will win X hopes that Arizona will wrn Next Logical Behaviorism Behaviorism Mental states are behavioral states or dispositions to behave in certain ways in certain circumstances Logical Behaviorism the very meaning of psychology sentences can be cashed out in behavioral terms As Putnam uts it the thesis is that mental events are logical constructions out of actual and possible behavior events Example Bob is in pain means Bob is exhibiting behaviors Bi B2 B3 or perhaps Bob is disposed to do A1 if he s in conditions C1 and A2 if he s in conditions C2 and A3 if he s in conditions C3 Two kinds of behavior a physical behavior an instance of physical behavior is a physical change to a creature s ody such as the rising of the creature s arm or the emission of certain sounds Kim s type i and ii b agential behavior an instance of agential behavior is something a creature does such as raising its arm or saying that it is time for lunch Kim s type iii and iv 6 We can also define physical behavioral dispositions and agential behavioral dispositions Dispositions are properties like fragility solubility elasticity Something is fragile for example just in case it would break if struck or dropped Important something can be fragile even though it is never in fact struck or dropped Similarly for a soluble sugar cube or an elastic band Putnam Burying Logical Behaviorism Argument Against Logical Behaviorism LB 1 LB entails that it s not possible for there to be worlds where there is pain but no pain behavior or disposition to pain behavior This should be incoherent 2 But such worlds are possible eg the SupereSpartan world or SupereSupereSpartan Xworld There is no incoherence here 3 So LB is wrong A Second Argument Against LB See Chalmers introduction to this unit A good actor could have all of the behavior and behavioral dispositions of someone in pain On the LB view that means that the good actor is in pain But that s absurd The dualist and nonebehaviorist materialist will say that although the meaning of pain may be explained by reference to overt behaviour what we mean by pain is not the presence ofa cluster of actual and potential responses but rather the presence ofan event or condition that normally cases those responses Philosophy 575 March 24 2009 Prof Clare Batty Consciousness lackson Ep phenomenal Qu 39 Physicalism all the facts about the world are physical facts 1 Nagel Revisited Nagel does not think that his argument shows that physicalism is false Rather he concludes that we do not have any conception of how physicalism might be true Even though we don t understand physicalism Nagel thinks we could have good reason to believe it He illustrates this with the example of the caterpillar and the butterfly 2 Jackson s Mary Jackson does argue that physicalism is false The story Mary is a brilliant scientistforced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white monitor She specializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires let us suppose all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes or the sky and use terms like red blue and so on What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a color television monitor quotWill she learn anything or not Jackson yes Itjust seems obvious that she will learn something about the world and our experience of it But she had all the physical information Ergo Physicalism isfalse The Knowledge Argument 1 Imprisoned Mary knows all the physical facm 2 If physicalism is true Mary before her release knows all the facts from 1 physicalism 3 After her release Mary learns somethingisomething she couldn t have known while imprisoned 4 If Mary learns something she learns a fact 5 So Mary learns a fact from 3 4 6 So physicalism isfalse from 2 5 Further conclusion 7 Our experiences have qualia Qualia are certain nonphysical features of bodily sensations and perceptual experiencesthe hurtfulness of pains the itchiness of itches etc 3 The Modal Argument The Zombie Argument 1 It is possible that there be zombies 2 If it is possible that there be zombies then consciousness is nonphysical 3 So consciousness is nonphysical 4 Epiphenomenalism Something is epiphenomenal if and only if it does not function causally in the world Some philosophers argue that the qualia freak s position is untenable because it leaves qualia as epiphenomenal This is taken to be bad because I It is supposed to be just obvious that the hurtfulness of pain is partly responsible for the subject seeking to avoid pain Darwin s Theory of Evolution Knowledge of other minds Philosophy 575 March 26 2009 Prof Clare Batty 1 The Knowledge ArgumentI cont d Lewis What Experience Teaches Knowledgethat vs knowledgehow Premise 4 If Mary learns something she learns a fact Mary learns but she doesn t learn a fact rather she acquires knowihow and thereby an abilityian ability to remember imagine and recognize the experience of seeing something red Response Knowhow Ryle argued that knowledgeihow eg knowing how to swim is not reducible to knowledgeithat eg knowing that kicking one s legs makes one swim faster Lewis claims the same Lessons impart information ability is something else Knowledgeithat does not automatically provide knowihow Some know how to wiggle their ears others don t If you can t do it no amount of information will help Some know how to eat with chopsticks other s don t Information will help you up to a pointifor instance if your trouble is that you hold one chopstick in each handibut no amount of information by itself will bring you to a very high level of knowihow 293 Question does Mary reallyjust acquire knowihow After all it looks as if she could express her new knowledge she leaves the room by saying Ahal I didn t know before that seeing red is like this but now I do know that seeing red is like this 2 Nonghysicalgrogerties The move from the conclusion at 6 to the conclusion at 7 Just what are these noniphysical features of experience Philosophy 575 March 12 2009 Prof Clare Batty Consc Dennett Q g Qu 1 Motivating and Locating the Traditional Notion of Qualia IP1 Cauli ower Dennett dislikes the smell and taste of cauliflower and can t imagine how you could like that taste Surmises that maybe you experience a different taste Suggests that there is such a thing as the way something tastes that can be abstracted away from everything else that is going on IP2 WineTasting Machine The wine tasting machine might produce nice descriptions based on chemical analysis Qualia but it doesn t experience what we do when we taste wine There is something it is like for me to taste wine and it s something over and above whatever information processing is going on under the surface The WineeTesting machine s information processing isn t accompanied by raw feels subjective episodes iin a word qualiaibut ours is What can we say about these qualia Here are some features theorists have given to them and not without some intuitive justification Dennett admits i They are ineffable ii They are intrinsic features ofstates ii39 They are private iv They are directly or immediately apprehensible in consciousness Dennett s Bold Claim There are no qualia It s a confused notion and it s high time we ditched it Question Couldn t we have a minimalnotion ofqualia one that s not committed to the above list of properties How about The qualitative or phenomenal features of sense experience Dennett Fine but explain what qualitative and phenomenal mean I bet you ll be led backto something that looks like my list Dennett I suspect in fact that many are unwilling to take my radical challenge seriously largely because they want so much for qualia to be acknowledged Qualia seem to many people to be the last ditch defense of the inwardness and elusiveness of our minds a bulwark against creeping mechanism They are sure there must be some sound path from the homely cases to the redoubtable category of the philosophers since otherwise their last bastion of specialness will be stormed by science Thanks for the free psychoanalysis Dennett This passage and others like it peppered throughout the reading are ad hominem arguments An ad hominem argument attacks the intellectual opponent herself not the particular beliefshe holds that is in question He hasn t given us any reason no to believe in qualia here he s just painted those who do believe in qualia in an unflattering light It s a more sophisticated and intellectually dressed up version of calling one s intellectual opponent a jackass Moreover it doesn t look like a very good characterization of the folks he s arguing against Block and Nagel would happily embrace a scientific theory that explains qualial 2 Paradox IP3 The Inverted Spectrum Coordinated verbal behavior hiding different subjective feels IP4 The Brainstorm Machine Moral no intersubjective comparison of qualia is possible even with perfect technology Dennett s claims here are verificationist How so But verificationism is complete and utter nonsense Don t take my word for it just apply the verificationist criterion of meaningfulness to itself But isn t this case testable in principle IP5 Neurosurgical Prank You wake up one morning to find that the grass has turned red the sky yellow and so forth No one else notices any color anomalies in the world so the problem must be in you You are entitled it seems to conclude that you have undergone visual color qualia inversion Dennett PhewI Qualia seem like justifiable properties after all But it is not so See IP6 I P6 Alternative Neurosurgery Two way things could have gone down in IPS i Invert qualiaeproducing channels ii Invert memory access links Dennett on IP6 Nothing in the subject s experience can favor one of the hypotheses over the other So unless he seeks outside help the state of his own qualia must be as unknowable to him as the state of anyone else s qualia Hardly the privileged access or immediate acquaintance or direct apprehension the friends of qualia had supposed phenomenal features to enjoy Qualia Freak It doesn t follow from the fact that the agent can t decide between the two hypotheses that qualia must be as unknowable to him as the state of anyone else s qualia Qualia Freak What s unknown in IP6 is how to hook up present qualia with memories and memoriedelinked language and concepts It shows that we don t have privileged access to past qualia from past subjective episodes and insofar as concepBlanguage are linked to those past episodes we aren t infallible in employing language and concepts to describe and categorize qualia But no one was claiming or they shouldn t have been if they were that we have direct and infallible access to the intrinsic features ofpast qualia Obviously anything that s mediated by memory is indirect Insofar as language and concepts are hooked up to these memory traces the concepts and words I employ might be messed up when I describe my present qualia That s okay None ofthis suggests any paradox with qualia So Friends of qualia can just agree with Dennett s assessment of IP6 A verificationist would see this as a problem for the view but surely Dennett doesn t think verificationism is so obvious that he can just assume it 3 Why the Concept of Qualia is Confused IP7 Chase and Sanborn Maxwell House tasters Both used to like MH coffee and now don t Chase claims that MH still has the same taste to him He just went from liking that taste to disliking it Sanborn claims that MH tastes different to him now He still likes the way it originally tasted to him he just doesn t like how it tastes now Dennett s Commentary on IP7 Since both of them make claims that depend on the reliability of their memories is there any way to check on this reliability Three possib ties for Chase i he s right ii his qualia have slowly shifted he s in the circumstance Sanborn thinks he Sanborn is in or iii his qualia and judgments have shifted over the years Qualia Freak Of course Chase can t test these hypotheses or prove his favorite one even to himself What follows Can t we say that he at least has direct private access to his current qualiaihe knows how they feelieven if he makes mistakes in hooking them up to memory traces Dennett But if absolutely nothing follows from this presumed knowledgeinothing for instance that would she any light on the different psychological claims that might be true of Chasewhat is the point of asserting that one has it Perhaps people just want to reaffirm their sense of proprietorship over their own conscious states Qualia Freak The point in asserting it is that it seems obviously true Why does it need to shed light on your worry it s agreed that it doesn t in order to be true Is there any reason to think that it would have to shed light on your worry if it were true Your verificationism has blossomed into something downright bizarre Dennett It s seems easy enough to dream empirical tests that would tend to confirm Chase and Sanborn s different tales but if passing such tests could support their authority that is to say their reliability failing the tests would have to undermine it Qualia Freak The sort of evidence that an empirical test would give here would be very indirect indeed We presume that qualia have neural correlates but since we never see why a given neural state would have to be accompanied by a quale let alone this one we re going to have to be making a lot of tenuous assumptions to make the experimental test relevant to qualia Qualia Freak Anyway and more importantly I don t think that individuals can speak with absolute authority about their past qualia And insofar as concepts and words are bound up with past qualia their application to current qualia will also be susceptible to error Dennett Chase or Sanborn might complain that these properties the neuroiphysiologists choose to call qualia are not the qualia they are speaking of The scientists retort is If we cannot distinguish the various hypotheses concerning Chase s qualia we certainly cannot support either of your claims If you want our support you must relinquish your concept of qualia Again what must Dennett be assuming in order to make sense of this IP7 Chase s wife tells him that he s confused for if he s now not enjoying MH coffee and he used to enjoy it he must have different qualia Dennett But this conclusion if it is accepted wreaks havocwith the traditional philosophical view ofqualia For if it is admitted that one s attitudes towards or reactions to experiences are in any way and in any degree constitutive of their experiential qualities so that a change in reactivity amounts to or guarantees a change in the property then those properties those qualitative or phenomenal features cease to be intrinsic properties and in fact become paradigmatically extrinsic relational properties Conclusion We have now reached the heart of my case The fact is that we have to ask Chase which way he wants to go and there really are two drastically different alternatives available to him if we force the issue Which way would you go Which concept of qualia did you always have in the back of your mind guiding your imagination as you thought about theories If you acknowledge that the answer is not obvious and especially if you complain that this forced choice drives apart two aspects that you had supposed united in your pretheoretic concept you support my contention that there is no secure foundation in ordinary folk psychology for a concept of qualia We normally think in a confused and potentially incoherent way when we think about the ways things seem to us Philosophy 575 March 5 2009 Prof Clare Batty Consciousness Nagel What Is It lee to Be a Bat The current state of the eld of research Terrible Without p7consciousness the mindibody problem would be much less interesting With consciousness it seems opeless 1 The Subjective Character of Experience N Equot Subjective character of experience what it is like to have that experience The sub character of experience is not captured by any of the familiar recently devised reductive analyses of the mental for all ofthem are logically compatible with its absence I do not deny that conscious mental states and events cause behavior nor that they may be given functional characterizations deny only that this kind of thing exhausts their analysis It is useless to base the defense of materialism on any analysis of mental phenomena that fails to deal explicitly with their subjective character You can t explain away the phenomenological features in the way of other reductions How was that again An inductive argument against physicalism Every subjective phenomenon is essentially connected with a single point of viewithe first person point of View 2 But science is conducted from the third person point of view C So it s hard to see how it s going to be able to explain the subjective and private feels of experience What Is It Like to Be a Bat Consider the bat Will any method current or future of science tell us what it s like to be a bat Nagel s not too optimistic The inner life of a bat is inconceivable for us We don t have the right perceptual equipment to conceive of what it s like for them It will not help to imagine what it would be like to turn into a bat Why not Is the same thing as saying that mental states are private Physicalism Refuted Currently we have no idea how physicalism could possibly be true We can be told that this subjective state is a physical state in a brain but we do not have the beginnings of a conception of how it might be true Nagel isn t arguing against physicalism though Strangely enough we may have evidence for the truth of something we cannot really understand The caterpillar example what does Nagel take this example to show Is he right An objective phenomenology A description of the subjective character of experience that is not dependent on empathy or the imagination Philosophy 575 February 24 2009 Prof Clare Batty FunctionalismI cont d 1 Chronology Descartes 1641 Ryle 1949 Place 1956 Smart 1959 2 Armstrong 1968 Philosophy can tell us whether or not it makes sense to think that mental states are physical And he thinks it does make sense Armstrong s view here is a topiceneutral view it is silent on the real nature of mental states According to Armstrong mental states are those states that are apt to be the cause of certain effects or apt to be the effect of certain causes For example the mental state of thirst is apt to be the cause of looking for liquid Mental states are not to be identified with behavior or dispositions to behave But they are de ned in terms of behavior 3 Putnam 1973 Putnam s argument against the TypeIdentity Theory 1 According to the Typeildentity Theory every mental state type eg pain is identical to a physical state type eg Cifibers firing This is to say that what all cases of pain have in common is that they are instances of Cifibers firing 2 It is false that every mental state type is identical to a physical state type eg the octopus and feeling hungry C Therefore the Typeildentity Theory is false Premise 2 constitutes what is known as multiple realizability a state is multiply realizable if there are different kinds of substances that could realize this state Putnam s proposal Machine Functionalism Mental states are like the functional states of a computeristates of the computer that play a certain functional role in the machine So mental states are functionalstates More formally to be in a mental state M is to be in some physiological state P that plays the role R in the relevant machine What does it mean to play the role R It is to stand in a set of relations to inputs outputs and other inner states that matches the abstract characterization of the inputoutputstate relations in the machine table eg computer program Probabilistic Automaton If the machine eg you is in state S and receives input I then with a probability of lt 0 the machine eg you will go into state S2 and produce motor output 0 Why probabilistic Multiple realizability Just as a computer program can be realized by any of a number of physiologically different hardware configurations so can a psychological program be realized by any of a number of different organisms with different physiochemical compositions Philosophy 575 April 16 2009 Prof Clare Batty Mental Content 1 lntentionality Aboutness According to Brentano intentionality is the mark of the mental 2 In Contemporary Terms We have various intentional states hoping believing doubting Hopes beliefs and doubts are known as propositional attitudes They are attitudes mental attitudes that we take up concerning a certain proposition So you may hope that it will be warmer tomorrow I may believe that it will be warmer tomorrow and Frank may doubt that it will be warmer tomorrow The attitudes hoping believing doubting The proposition it will be warmer tomorrow You and Frank can adopt different attitudes toward the same proposition Rule ofthumb propositional attitudes are those mental states that are followed or can be followed by a that cause All of these states have the same content it will be warmer tomorrow We can say then that the content ofthese particular states is given by a proposition 3 Historical Background Brentano His question what distinguishes mental from physical phenomena Examples of mental phenomena hearing a sound seeing a colored object feeling warmth or cold imaginings and thinkings judgments recollections expectations inferences convictions opinions doubts emotions Examples of physical phenomena dogs cats tables chairs odors colors He canvases a number of possible answers One such answer mental phenomena are the negations of physical phenomenaithat is mental phenomena are noneextended and not spatial Brentano rejects this as a mark of the mental Why A positive criterion Every mental phenomena is characterized bythe intentional inexistence of an object and what we might call though not wholly unambiguously reference to a content direction toward an object which is not to be understood here as meaning a thing or immanent objectivity 481 Intentional inexistence What s that mean Consider the following Johnny believes that all unicorns are green This belief can be said to truly have an object even though the object it is about does not exist Call this object an intentional object Analogy I may search for the Fountain of Youth even though there is no such thing as the Fountain of Youth Still it can be said that my searching has an object 4 Food for Thought Interesting questions that we might ask about content a In virtue of what do intentional states have the content that they have b How do we go about attributing intentional states to others Philosophy 575 April 16 2009 Prof Clare Batty Mental Content cont d Dretske A Recipe for Thought 1 Two related questions i How do intentional states come to have the content they do ii How do we go about attributing intentional states to others Regarding i There are two styles of answer reductive and nonreductive Reductive account an account that does not help itselfto any mental ingredients Nonreductive views an account that does help itself to mental ingredients Think of the cake analogy here Dretske provides a reductive account Dennett provides a nonireductive one As we shall see Dennett s answer to i is intrinsically related to his answer to ii 2 How could a purely physical system exhibit intentionality Help us understand this Well consider the compass One feature of intentionality intensionality with a s A compass indicates when used properly the location of the North Pole not the whereabouts of polar bears even if polar bears are at the North Pole The compass represents under aspects That is the compass can say that X is F without saying that X is G despite the fact that F and 6 point to the same thing So the way the compass represents seems importantly similar to how beliefs representione may believe that the location ofthe pole is over there and not believe that the location of polar bears is over there even if polar bears are at the north pole A second feature of intentionality misrepresentation We also need a system that can say that X if F without its being the case that X is F Content is independent of the truth of what one thinks Think of the unicorns case Compasses can misrepresent but they need our help to do it Their representational successes and failures are underwritten by the purposes and attitudes of their designers and users 494 We are the source of the job the function without which the compass could not say anything false 494 So the compass doesn t help us understand how a purely physical system could eXhibit the first mark of intentionality ithe power to misrepresent Remember Dretske seeks a reductive account What we do learn however is that if something is to be representational it must have a certain function It is in virtue of not performing this function that it misrepresents A distinction between something s being the purveyor of information and something s being a representational system 3 Natural functions If an information carrying element in a system could somehow acquire the function of carrying information and acquire this function in a way that did not depend on our intentions purposes and attitudes then it would thereby acquire just as a thermometer or compass acquires the power to misrepresent the conditions it has the function of informing about 495 Two ways of acqu ng natural function phylogenic and ontogenic Phylogenic coming from their evolutionary selectional history But this could not explain how an individual animal might acquire representations of its environment through learning Ontogenic coming from learning and development These functions are results of the right kind of history 496 The result will be a system with internal resources for representing with the associated power of misrepresenting its surroundings Furthermore that this system represents as well as what it represents will be independent of what we know or believe about it The entire process can happen spontaneously and when it does the system will have its own cache of original intentionality Philosophy 575 April 16 2009 Prof Clare Batty Mental ContentI cont d Dennett True Believers 1 Two related questions i How do intentional states come to have the content they do ii How do we go about attributing intentional states to others Regarding i There are two styles of answer reductive and nonreductive Reductive account an account that does not help itselfto any mental ingredients Nonreductive views an account that does help itself to mental ingredients Think ofthe cake analogy here Dennett provides a nonereductive one Dennett s answer to i is intrinsically related to his answer to ii Dennett s intentional strategy There are objective facts about what you believe desirefear it s just that these facts epend upon a kind of predictive strategy 2 Three Predictive stances We often want to predict the behavior of people animals and mechanical devices stances are predictive strategies systematic rules for predicting behavior for systems Physical stance A strategy for predicting the physical behavior of electrons atoms molecules etc on the basis of the physical sciences Use the system s physical properties and the laws of physics to predict its behavior Design stance A strategy for predicting the designed behavior of objects on the basis that it was designed with a given purpose to behave thuseandeso Assume that the system is designed to do sucheandesuch and predict its behavior on this basis The design stance abstracts away from the details of physical implementation Intentional stance A strategy for predicting the behavior of objects on the basis that it has propositional attitudes like beliefsdesiresfears Treat the system as a rational agent figure out what beliefs and desires it ought to have given its place in the world We are intentional systems since for instance our behavior is excellently predicted by the assumption we have various beliefs desires fears etc A thermostat s behavior can be predicted from the intentional stance When it believes that it s too cold it will desire to start the furnace and it will act on that desire The intentional stance abstracts away both from a thing s design and its physical constitution We can adopt stances as we wish though some will be more useful than others The Intentional Stance A little practical reasoning from the chosen set of beliefs and desires will in manyibut not alliinstances yield a decision about what the agent ought to do that is what you predict the agent will do 558 The intentional stance proceeds as follows for object x Suppose thatx is a rational agent Determine what beliefs x ought to have given what it is and what it does as Determine what desires x ought to have given what it is and what it does 4s Predict that x will act in a way based upon its beliefs to satisfy its desires Dennett thinks we apply the intentional stance not only to other people but to animals plants and even some mechanical devices maybe even robots computers or thermostats But do they really have these propositional attitudes and if so which do they have All there is to being a true believer is being a system whose behavior is reiaby predictable via the intentional strategy and hence all there is to really and truly believing p for any proposition p is being an intentional system for which p occurs as a belief in the best most predictive interpretation Dennett thinks they do all things being equal they have just the propositional attitudes that we ascribe to them when we take the intentional stanceithere is simply no further fact of the matter about whether they really have those propositional attitudes Intentional stance as a theory of propositional attitudes X beievesdesiresfears that p iff the best prediction of X s ehavior when adopting the intentional stance for x includes an ascription of this belief desirefear to x Notice that this is a nonereductive account of believing that p because being an intentional system for which contains mental vocabulary 4 Objections and replies Too inclusive This table wants to remain put because it believes it is near a civilized intellectual conversation But that s just silly Reply The intentional stance gives us no predictive power we didn t already have We could have equally well predicted the table s staying put say on the physical stance alone Supersmart Martians They could predict our behavior on the physical stance alone as well as we do on the intentional stance So from their point of view we aren t believers at all and belief turns out to be something subjective Reply The Martians can t really predict our behavior on the physical stance alone as well as we 0 on the intentional stance This is for two reasons a The Martian couldn t predict the patterns in our behavior that are describable only in terms of the intentional stance b It is understandable that the Martian may not view us as intentional systems But if they can observe theorize predict and communicate they view themselves as intentional systems Where there is intelligence the patterns must be there to describe It is simple false that the intentional stance has nothing to offer the Martians iii No difference Even if all that is right there are huge differences between us and thermostats as believers desirers and so onieg for instance our beliefs and desires are far more sophisticated The intentional strategy can t account for these differences Reply What makes a mental state have the representational content it does is its role in regulating the behavior of an intentional system Granted both we and the thermostat represent the world But the thermostat does so in a very minimal way because it is perceptually impoverished and behaviorally restricted We are much more perceptually rich and behaviorally versatile That explains why our representations of the world are more sophisticated


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