Instrumentalism, Semi-Realism and Causality Comparing Dennett´s view of the function of folk psychology with the Theory-Theory

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Introducing the Players

Beliefs, desires and other intentional states play an important part in our daily life, as we ascribe them to others and ourselves. The theory-theory states that these intentional states are properly characterized by a framework we call FP (what’s this?) and moreover that FP is ontologically committed to real states. As an example of a typical rule of FP, imagine Stuart desires to read this essay to its end, but a phonecall from Sharon to go to the cinema will prevent him from doing this, then he will very likely desire that Sharon is not calling.

Paul Churchland has in a now renowned article argued that FP is an empirical theory alright, but a bad one and should and will therefore be eliminated in the near future.1 Ramsey et al have tried to show that connectionist networks pose a further threat to the validity of the theory-theory, as connectionist-networks face difficulties in explaining propositional modularity.2 Stephen Stich has summarized these points by arguing that in case of a successful reduction, a realistic account (be it rules-and-representation or connectionistic theories) will win the battle. But it is more likely that a reduction is not possible. This will eventually lead to an acceptance of the eliminativist stand. We have now arrived at the point where Dennett´s theory steps in.

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