[Wittrs] Re: Searle's CRA and its Implications

  • From: Gordon Swobe <gts_2000@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 11:51:28 -0700 (PDT)

I did not want to get caught up in the debate about what Dennett thinks about 
what Searle thinks about what Dennett thinks and so on, but here we go...

I'll start by mentioning that while I have not read Dennett's consciousness 
book, I know from other discussions on the net and from online sources that he 
completely misses the point of what most philosophers of mind mean by 
intentionality. Dennett essentially dismisses the concept as false. I don't 
know what he calls his philosophy, but I consider it eliminative materialism, a 
position I find absurd.

According to his own theory of mind, Dennett has no conscious intentionality of 
the kind that Searle affirms, i.e., he has no mental contents. (Hard to 
disagree with that!) He considers such things as qualities of consciousness 
(aka qualia) illusory. I suppose if Dennett had a toothache, he would take an 
illusory aspirin to kill the illusory pain.

Dennett writes: "Then comes the suppressed premise: Surely more of the same, no 
matter how much more, would never add up to genuine understanding. But why 
should anyone think this is true? Cartesian dualists..."

Instead of showing us an actual refutation of Searle's third axiom -- a logical 
argument of some sort to show that more of the same would in fact give the 
computer genuine understanding -- Dennett just launches into name calling. 

Looks to me like he supports his assertion with a bit of hand-waving and then 
plays the dualism card to distract attention. Searle at least has an argument. 



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