[Wittrs] Re: Further Thoughts on Dennett, Searle and the Conundrum of Dualism

  • From: Gordon Swobe <gts_2000@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2010 08:03:39 -0700 (PDT)

--- On Tue, 3/30/10, gabuddabout <wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> That's why it is difficult to know exactly what Dennett's
> "intentional stance" amounts to.  Is it really
> intentionality if at a level below what is the intentional
> level where we can mean things when we say them?  

In his essay "Analytic Philosophy and Mental Phenomena", Searle points out the 
incoherency of Dennett's theory about the intentional stance:

"Also, when I adopt the intentional stance is that supposed to be intrinsic or 
not? Do I really have an intentional stance or is just a case of adopting an 
intentional stance to my intentional stance? If the former, we are left with 
intrinsic intentionality; if the latter, it looks like we are in a vicious 
regress." - Searle

My position with Stuart is that Dennett's functionalism entails a form of 
eliminativism, and that eliminativism is motivated by fear of (a false 
understanding of) dualism. 

Certainly Dennett's views qualify as eliminativist with respect to 
qualia/qualities of experience -- I think even Dennett would admit as much -- 
and they seem to amount to eliminativism (or obscurantism) with respect to 
intentionality also. 

In that same essay, Searle quotes Dennett admitting that people feel pains, 
while Dennett also argues that computers cannot experience pain because pains 
(and other qualia) do not technically exist. Dennett then has the audacity to 
ask his readers to believe that he has not contradicted himself. 


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