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Dennett, Daniel Clement (1942–)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DD082-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 13, 2024, from

Article Summary

A student of Gilbert Ryle and a connoisseur of cognitive psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology, American philosopher Daniel Dennett has urged Rylean views in the philosophy of mind, especially on each title topic of his first book,Content and Consciousness (1969). He defends a broadly instrumentalist view of propositional attitudes (such as belief and desire) and their intentional contents; like Ryle and the behaviourists, Dennett rejects the idea of beliefs and desires as causally active inner states of people. Construing them in a more purely operational or instrumental fashion, he maintains instead that belief- and desire-ascriptions are merely calculational devices.

Dennett offers a severely deflationary account of consciousness, subjectivity and the phenomenal or qualitative character of sensory states. He maintains that those topics are conceptually posterior to that of propositional-attitude content: the qualitative features of which we are directly conscious in experience are merely the intentional contents of judgments.

Citing this article:
Lycan, William G.. Dennett, Daniel Clement (1942–), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DD082-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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