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Daniel Dennett - Kinds of Minds

Daniel Dennett - Kinds of Minds

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KINDS OF MINDS
Toward an Understanding of Consciousness
DANIEL C. DENNETTA Member of the Perseus Books Group-iii-The Science Masters Series is a global publishing venture consisting of originalscience books written by leading scientists and published by a worldwide team of twenty-six publishers assembled by John Brockman. The series was conceived byAnthony Cheetham of Orion Publishers and John Brockman of Brockman Inc., aNew York literary agency, and developed in coordination with BasicBooks.The Science Masters name and marks are owned by and licensed to the publisher byBrockman Inc.Copyright © 1996 by Daniel Dennett.Published by BasicBooks A Member of the Perseus Books GroupAll rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permissionexcept in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Forinformation address Basic Books, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299.
 Designed by Joan Greenfield 
 ISBN 0-465-07351-4 (pbk.)99 00 01
 /RRD 10 9 8 7 6 5-iv-
CONTENTS
Preface
vii 
1 What Kinds of Minds Are There?
1
Knowing Your Own Mind
1
We Mind-Havers, We Minders
3
Words and Minds
8
 
 
The Problem of Incommunicative Minds
12
2 Intentionality: The Intentional Systems Approach
19
Simple Beginnings: The Birth of Agency
19
Adopting the Intentional Stance
27
The Misguided Goal of Propositional Precision
41
Original and Derived Intentionality
50
3 The Body and Its Minds
57
From Sensitivity to Sentience?
57
The Media and the Messages
65
"My Body Has a Mind of Its Own!"
73-v-
4 How Intentionality Came into Focus
81
The Tower of Generate-and-Test
81
The Search for Sentience: A Progress Report
93
From Phototaxis to Metaphysics
98
5 The Creation of Thinking
119
Unthinking Natural Psychologists
119
Making Things to Think With
134
Talking to Ourselves
147
6 Our Minds and Other Minds
153
Our Consciousness, Their Minds
153
Pain and Suffering: What Matters
161
Further Reading
169
Bibliography
175
Index
180-vi-
PREFACE
I am a philosopher, not a scientist, and we philosophers are better at questions thananswers. I haven't begun by insulting myself and my discipline, in spite of firstappearances. Finding better questions to ask, and breaking old habits and traditionsof asking, is a very difficult part of the grand human project of understandingourselves and our world. Philosophers can make a fine contribution to thisinvestigation, exploiting their professionally honed talents as question critics,provided they keep an open mind and restrain themselves from trying to answer allthe questions from "obvious" first principles. There are many ways of askingquestions about different kinds of minds, and my way--the way I will introduce inthis book--changes almost daily, get. ting refined and enlarged, corrected andrevised, as I learn of new discoveries, new theories, new problems. I will introducethe set of fundamental assumptions that hold my way together and give it a stable
 
and recognizable pattern, but the most exciting parts of this way are at thechangeable fringes of the pattern, where the action is. The main point of this book isto present the questions I'm asking
right now
--and some of them will probably leadnowhere, so let the reader beware. But my way of asking questions has a pretty goodtrack record over the years, evolving quite smoothly to incorporate new discoveries,some of which were provoked by-vii-my earlier questions. Other philosophers have offered rival ways of asking thequestions about minds, but the most influential of these ways, in spite of their initialattractiveness, lead to self-contradictions, quandaries, or blank walls of mystery, as Iwill demonstrate. So it is with confidence that I recommend my current candidatesfor the good questions.Our minds are complex fabrics, woven from many different strands andincorporating many different designs. Some of these elements are as old as life itself,and others are as new as today's technology. Our minds are just like the minds of other animals in many respects and utterly unlike them in others. An evolutionaryperspective can help us see how and why these elements of minds came to take onthe shapes they have, but no single straight run through time, "from microbes toman," will reveal the moment of arrival of each new thread. So in what follows Ihave had to weave back and forth between simple and complex minds, reaching back again and again for themes that must be added, until eventually we arrive atsomething that is recognizably a human mind. Then we can look back, one moretime, to survey the differences encountered and assess some of their implications.Early drafts of this book were presented as the Agnes Cuming Lectures at UniversityCollege, Dublin, and in my public lectures as Erskine Fellow at CanterburyUniversity, Christchurch, New Zealand, in May and June of 1995. I want to thank thefaculty and students at those institutions, whose constructive discussions helpedmake the final draft almost unrecognizably different, and (I trust) better. I also wantto thank Marc Hauser, Alva Noë, Wei Cui, Shannon Densmore, Tom Schuman,Pascal Buckley, Jerry Lyons, Sara Lippincott, and my students in "Language andMind" at Tufts, who read and vigorously criticized the penultimate draft.Tufts UniversityDecember 20, 1995-viii-
CHAPTER I
WHAT KINDS OF MINDS ARE THERE?

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