The Intentional Stance

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MIT Press, 1989 - Psychology - 388 pages
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How are we able to understand and anticipate each other in everyday life, in ourdaily interactions? Through the use of such "folk" concepts as belief, desire, intention, andexpectation, asserts Daniel Dennett in this first full-scale presentation of a theory ofintentionality that he has been developing for almost twenty years. We adopt a stance, he argues, apredictive strategy of interpretation that presupposes the rationality of the people - or otherentities - we are hoping to understand and predict.These principles of radical interpretation havefar-reaching implications for the metaphysical and scientific status of the processes referred to bythe everday terms of folk psychology and their corresponding terms in cognitive science.WhileDennett's philosophical stance has been steadfast over the years, his views have undergonesuccessive enrichments, refinements, and extensions. The Intentional Stance brings together bothpreviously published and original material: four of the book's ten chapters - its first and thefinal three - appear here for the first time and push the theory into surprising new territory. Theremaining six were published earlier in the 1980s but were not easily accessible; each is followedby a reflection - an essay reconsidering and extending the claims of the earlier work. Thesereflections and the new chapters represent the vanguard of Dennett's thought. They reveal freshlines of inquiry into fundamental issues in psychology, artificial intelligence, and evolutionarytheory as well as traditional issues in the philosophy of mind.Daniel C. Dennett is DistinguishedArts and Sciences Professor at Tufts University and the author of Brainstorms and Elbow Room. TheIntentional Stance, along with these works, is a Bradford Book.

 

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Contents

True Believers
13
and Empty Questions
37
Three Kinds of Intentional Psychology
43
Instrumentalism Reconsidered
69
Making Sense of Ourselves
83
When Frogs and Others Make Mistakes
103
Beyond Belief
117
About Aboutness
203
Styles of Mental Representation
213
The Language of Thought Reconsidered
227
Evolution Error and Intentionality
287
Fast Thinking
323
Copyright

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About the author (1989)

Daniel C. Dennett is University Professor and Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University. He is the author of Brainstorms: Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology, Brainchildren: Essays on Designing Minds, Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness, all published by the MIT Press, and other books.

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