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Daniel Dennett (Dennett Daniel)

( The American philosopher.)

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Biography Daniel Dennett (Dennett Daniel)
(p. 1942)
Born March 28, 1942 in Boston (pc. Mass.). He was educated at Harvard and Oxford. In 1965, after defending his thesis under the guidance of Riley, became a teacher of the University of California, since 1971 - professor of philosophy at Tufts University.
From their teachers Quine and Ryle Dennett picked strictly naturalistic, antikartezianskuyu concept of consciousness and explored the empirical basis of consciousness, offering original philosophical interpretation of natural science phenomena. Lyrics Dennett combines philosophical argument with specific examples, that appeal to direct experience of the reader.

In the philosophical environment Dennett is primarily known for the concept of 'intentional setting'. To understand the past actions of an individual and to predict its future actions, we turn to his beliefs and desires. We say, for example, that someone goes to the refrigerator because he wants to drink, and believes that there is beer in the fridge. But we can also say that red blood cells absorb certain bacteria because they want to destroy the alien body and believe in the alienation of bacteria. In both cases, concludes Dennett, we resort to an explanation with the submission of the intentional setting, ie. explain some behavior by appealing to beliefs and desires of those who commit some action.

By the same situations you can apply a different setting, such as 'design' or physicalist. We admit that things are designed in accordance with a certain plan. Thus, we explain the behavior of the calculator, referring to the program contained in it, and the behavior of blood cells - referring to the laws of evolution. Calculator, getting certain orders, executes the corresponding operations, as it is programmed properly, blood cells, meeting with bacteria, absorb them, because it is predetermined by evolution. We apply to things physicalist installation, if the explanation and prediction of their behavior rely solely on the laws of physics. However physicalist explanation, according to Dennett, no closer to reality than an explanation in the framework of intentional or 'project' set. Any explanation of the legitimate to the extent to which specific answers related to the specific context of the needs. Dennett argues against the notion that only a person has beliefs and desires, while talking about beliefs and desires of animals, cells and computers can only metaphorically. The philosopher thinks the opposite is true representation: beliefs and desires of humans have different physical 'lining', than the cells and computers. In this sense we can speak about different types of consciousness inherent in different creatures.

Having a mental state - does not mean to have consciousness. Even if the blood cells and are willing to believe, it does not mean that they do so consciously. To have mental states, it is enough to detect the appropriate behavior based on representations. To have conscious mental states, you must have the ability to 'reprezentirovat' (represent) own mental states. By thinking Dennett, the ability to construct such representations 'second order' is closely linked to the ability of language. Creatures that do not have at their disposal the language, do not have consciousness and - even in cases where they can be attributed to mental states. Publications philosopher - Content and consciousness (Content and Consciousness, 1969), intentional approach (Intentional Stance, 1987), explanation of consciousness (Consciousness Explained, 1991).


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