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Single Idea 7369

[filed under theme 14. Science / C. Induction / 1. Induction ]

Full Idea

All brains are, in essence, anticipation machines.

Gist of Idea

Brains are essentially anticipation machines


Daniel Dennett (Consciousness Explained [1991], 7.2)

Book Ref

Dennett,Daniel: 'Consciousness Explained' [Penguin 1993], p.177

A Reaction

This would necessarily, I take it, make them induction machines. So brains will only evolve in a world where induction is possible, which is one where there a lot of immediately apprehensible regularities.

The 70 ideas from Daniel Dennett

Philosophers regularly confuse failures of imagination with insights into necessity [Dennett]
That every mammal has a mother is a secure reality, but without foundations [Dennett]
Maybe language is crucial to consciousness [Dennett]
Unconscious intentionality is the foundation of the mind [Dennett]
A language of thought doesn't explain content [Dennett]
Maybe there can be non-conscious concepts (e.g. in bees) [Dennett]
Could a robot be made conscious just by software? [Dennett]
Does consciousness need the concept of consciousness? [Dennett]
Theories of intentionality presuppose rationality, so can't explain it [Dennett]
Beliefs and desires aren't real; they are prediction techniques [Dennett]
Dualism wallows in mystery, and to accept it is to give up [Dennett]
It is arbitrary to say which moment of brain processing is conscious [Dennett]
Perhaps the brain doesn't 'fill in' gaps in consciousness if no one is looking. [Dennett]
Brains are essentially anticipation machines [Dennett]
Originally there were no reasons, purposes or functions; since there were no interests, there were only causes [Dennett]
The brain is controlled by shifting coalitions, guided by good purposeful habits [Dennett]
All functionalism is 'homuncular', of one grain size or another [Dennett]
Blindsight subjects glean very paltry information [Dennett]
In peripheral vision we see objects without their details, so blindsight is not that special [Dennett]
Light wavelengths entering the eye are only indirectly related to object colours [Dennett]
We can't assume that dispositions will remain normal when qualia have been inverted [Dennett]
If an epiphenomenon has no physical effects, it has to be undetectable [Dennett]
Visual experience is composed of neural activity, which we find pleasing [Dennett]
The psychological self is an abstraction, not a thing in the brain [Dennett]
We spin narratives about ourselves, and the audience posits a centre of gravity for them [Dennett]
We tell stories about ourselves, to protect, control and define who we are [Dennett]
People accept blurred boundaries in many things, but insist self is All or Nothing [Dennett]
Words are fixed by being attached to similarity clusters, without mention of 'essences' [Dennett]
Selves are not soul-pearls, but artefacts of social processes [Dennett]
"Qualia" can be replaced by complex dispositional brain states [Dennett]
We can know a lot of what it is like to be a bat, and nothing important is unknown [Dennett]
We can't draw a clear line between conscious and unconscious [Dennett]
Conscious events can only be explained in terms of unconscious events [Dennett]
We can bring dispositions into existence, as in creating an identifier [Dennett, by Mumford]
Darwin's idea was the best idea ever [Dennett]
Awareness of thought is a step beyond awareness of the world [Dennett]
Foreknowledge permits control [Dennett]
Causal theories require the "right" sort of link (usually unspecified) [Dennett]
The active self is a fiction created because we are ignorant of our motivations [Dennett]
I am the sum total of what I directly control [Dennett]
An overexamined life is as bad as an unexamined one [Dennett]
You can be free even though force would have prevented you doing otherwise [Dennett, by PG]
Rationality requires the assumption that things are either for better or worse [Dennett]
Can we conceive of a being with a will freer than our own? [Dennett]
Why pronounce impossible what you cannot imagine? [Dennett]
Minds are hard-wired, or trial-and-error, or experimental, or full self-aware [Dennett, by Heil]
What is it like to notice an uncomfortable position when you are asleep? [Dennett]
Most people see an abortion differently if the foetus lacks a brain [Dennett]
The predecessor and rival of the language of thought hypothesis is the picture theory of ideas [Dennett]
We descend from robots, and our intentionality is composed of billions of crude intentional systems [Dennett]
Maybe plants are very slow (and sentient) animals, overlooked because we are faster? [Dennett]
There is no more anger in adrenaline than silliness in a bottle of whiskey [Dennett]
The materials for a mind only matter because of speed, and a need for transducers and effectors [Dennett]
Maybe there is a minimum brain speed for supporting a mind [Dennett]
Sentience comes in grades from robotic to super-human; we only draw a line for moral reasons [Dennett]
Being a person must involve having second-order beliefs and desires (about beliefs and desires) [Dennett]
Concepts are things we (unlike dogs) can think about, because we have language [Dennett]
Learning is evolution in the brain [Dennett]
Biology is a type of engineering, not a search for laws of nature [Dennett]
The nature of content is entirely based on its functional role [Dennett]
Like the 'centre of gravity', desires and beliefs are abstract concepts with no actual existence [Dennett]
The 'intentional stance' is a way of interpreting an entity by assuming it is rational and self-aware [Dennett]
Dennett denies the existence of qualia [Dennett, by Lowe]
What matters about neuro-science is the discovery of the functional role of the chemistry [Dennett]
I don't deny consciousness; it just isn't what people think it is [Dennett]
The work done by the 'homunculus in the theatre' must be spread amongst non-conscious agencies [Dennett]
Intelligent agents are composed of nested homunculi, of decreasing intelligence, ending in machines [Dennett]
Obviously there can't be a functional anaylsis of qualia if they are defined by intrinsic properties [Dennett]
You couldn't drive a car without folk psychology [Dennett]
If mind is just an explanation, the explainer must have beliefs [Rey on Dennett]