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



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  1. Baker, L.R., 1989, `Instrumental Intentionality`, Journal of Philosophy, Vol.56, no.2, pp.303-316

  2. Beckermann, A., 2001, `Analytische Einführung in die Philosophie des Geistes`, Berlin, de Gruyter Verlag

  3. Churchland, P.M., 1981, ´Eliminative Materialism and the Proposisitional Attitudes´, Journal of Philosophy, vol.78, no.2, pp.67-90

  4. Churchland, P.M., 1988, `The Ontological Status of Mental States: nailing folk psychology to ist perch`, Behavioural and Brain Sciences, vol.11, no.3, pp.507-8

  5. Churchland, Paul, Churchland, Patricia, 1990, `Could a machine think?` Scientific American 262, no.1, pp.32-39

  6. Dennett, D., 1980, `The milk of human intentionality`, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, no.3, pp.429-430

  7. Dennett, D., 1984, `Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting`, Cambridge Mass., MIT Press

  8. Dennett, D., 1987, `True Believers: The Intentional Strategy and why it works`, The Intentional Stance, Cambridge: MIT Press, pp.13-35

  9. Dennett, D., 1991, `Real Patterns`, Journal of Philosophy, vol.88, no.1, pp.27-51

  10. Frankish, K., 2005, The Open University - The Postgraduate Foundation Module in Philosophy, A850 Study Guide, Self-Ownership, pp.152-232

  11. Penrose, R., 1994, Shadows of the Mind, Oxford University Press

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  14. Searle, J., 1980, `Minds, Brains, and Programs`, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3, 417-424

  15. Stich, S.P., 1985, `The Future of Folk Psychology`, From Folk Psychology to Cognitive Science, MIT Press, pp.242-6, p.253

  16. Stich, S.P., 1988, `Connectionism, Realism and Realism`, Behavioural and Brain Sciences, vol.11, no.3, pp.531-2

1 His main arguments are:

  1. FP has made no significant progress within the last 2500 years.

  2. FP has contributed hardly anything to phenomena like memory, mental illnesses, ...

  3. There is very little hope that the concepts of FP can be embedded within the theories of other sciences.

2 Propositonal modularity means that mental states are functionally discrete, causally active and semantically interpretable.

3 The following arguments can also be used but to a lesser extent against eliminativism itself. This should be obvious as both semi-realism and eliminativism rely on intentional states being non-reducible.

4 Strong AI claims that it will be possible to build robots to which we can successfully ascribe `thoughts` and understanding.

5 Jerry Fodor is convinced that his representational theory brings about intentionality. Physicists like Roger Penrose in contrast are certain that a new theory of physics is necessary to explain semantically interpretable understanding.

6 Ansgar Beckermann has pointed out that Dennett has become increasingly cautious in how widely applicable his theory in fact is.


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