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Ideas of Daniel Dennett, by Text

[American, b.1942, Pupil of Gilbert Ryle at Oxford. Professor at Tufts University.]

1978 Brainstorms:Essays on Mind and Psychology
p.15? p.76 Theories of intentionality presuppose rationality, so can't explain it
p.7? p.77 Beliefs and desires aren't real; they are prediction techniques
1984 Elbow Room: varieties of free will
2.2 p.29 Awareness of thought is a step beyond awareness of the world
3.2 p.54 Foreknowledge permits control
3.3 n14 p.58 Causal theories require the "right" sort of link (usually unspecified)
4.1 p.79 The active self is a fiction created because we are ignorant of our motivations
4.2 p.82 I am the sum total of what I directly control
4.2 p.87 An overexamined life is as bad as an unexamined one
6.1 p.132 You can be free even though force would have prevented you doing otherwise
7.1 p.155 Rationality requires the assumption that things are either for better or worse
7.3 p.170 Why pronounce impossible what you cannot imagine?
7.3 p.172 Can we conceive of a being with a will freer than our own?
1985 works
p.79 If mind is just an explanation, the explainer must have beliefs
p.133 You couldn't drive a car without folk psychology
1988 Quining Qualia
p.55 Dennett denies the existence of qualia
1991 Consciousness Explained
2.4 p.37 Dualism wallows in mystery, and to accept it is to give up
5.3 p.126 It is arbitrary to say which moment of brain processing is conscious
5.4 p.127 Perhaps the brain doesn't 'fill in' gaps in consciousness if no one is looking.
7.2 p.173 Originally there were no reasons, purposes or functions; since there were no interests, there were only causes
7.2 p.177 Brains are essentially anticipation machines
8.1 p.228 The brain is controlled by shifting coalitions, guided by good purposeful habits
9.2 p.262 All functionalism is 'homuncular', of one grain size or another
11.4 p.338 In peripheral vision we see objects without their details, so blindsight is not that special
11.4 p.342 Blindsight subjects glean very paltry information
12.2 p.375 Light wavelengths entering the eye are only indirectly related to object colours
12.4 p.397 We can't assume that dispositions will remain normal when qualia have been inverted
12.5 p.402 If an epiphenomenon has no physical effects, it has to be undetectable
12.6 p.409 Visual experience is composed of neural activity, which we find pleasing
13.1 p.418 The psychological self is an abstraction, not a thing in the brain
13.1 p.418 We spin narratives about ourselves, and the audience posits a centre of gravity for them
13.1 p.418 We tell stories about ourselves, to protect, control and define who we are
13.2 p.421 Words are fixed by being attached to similarity clusters, without mention of 'essences'
13.2 p.422 People accept blurred boundaries in many things, but self must be All or Nothing
13.2 p.423 Selves are not soul-pearls, but artefacts of social processes
14.1 p.431 "Qualia" can be replaced by complex dispositional brain states
14.2 p.442 We can know a lot of what it is like to be a bat, and nothing important is unknown
14.2 p.447 We can't draw a clear line between conscious and unconscious
14.4 p.454 Conscious events can only be explained in terms of unconscious events
p.376 p. We can bring dispositions into existence, as in creating an identifier
1994 Daniel Dennett on himself
p.238 p.238 Learning is evolution in the brain
p.239 p.239 The 'intentional stance' is a way of interpreting an entity by assuming it is rational and self-aware
p.239 p.239 Like the 'centre of gravity', desires and beliefs are abstract concepts with no actual existence
p.239 p.239 The nature of content is entirely based on its functional role
p.239 p.239 Indeterminacy of translation also implies indeterminacy in interpreting people's mental states
p.239 p.239 Biology is a type of engineering, not a search for laws of nature
1995 Darwin's Dangerous Idea
1.1 p.21 Darwin's idea was the best idea ever
1996 Kinds of Minds
p.162 Minds are hard-wired, or trial-and-error, or experimental, or full self-aware
Ch.1 p.8 Most people see an abortion differently if the foetus lacks a brain
Ch.1 p.17 What is it like to notice an uncomfortable position when you are asleep?
Ch.2 p.68 The predecessor and rival of the language of thought hypothesis is the picture theory of ideas
Ch.2 p.73 We descend from robots, and our intentionality is composed of billions of crude intentional systems
Ch.3 p.81 Maybe there is a minimum brain speed for supporting a mind
Ch.3 p.87 Maybe plants are very slow (and sentient) animals, overlooked because we are faster?
Ch.3 p.100 The materials for a mind only matter because of speed, and a need for transducers and effectors
Ch.3 p.101 There is no more anger in adrenaline than silliness in a bottle of whiskey
Ch.4 p.128 Sentience comes in grades from robotic to super-human; we only draw a line for moral reasons
Ch.5 p.159 Being a person must involve having second-order beliefs and desires (about beliefs and desires)
Ch.6 p.211 Concepts are things we (unlike dogs) can think about, because we have language
1998 Brainchildren
Ch.25 p.358 Unconscious intentionality is the foundation of the mind
Ch.25 p.362 That every mammal has a mother is a secure reality, but without foundations
Ch.25 p.363 A language of thought doesn't explain content
Ch.25 p.364 Maybe language is crucial to consciousness
Ch.25 p.366 Philosophers regularly confuse failures of imagination with insights into necessity
Ch.6 p.128 Does consciousness need the concept of consciousness?
Ch.6 p.128 Maybe there can be non-conscious concepts (e.g. in bees)
Ch.6 p.129 Could a robot be made conscious just by software?
2005 Sweet Dreams
Ch.1 p.19 What matters about neuro-science is the discovery of the functional role of the chemistry
Ch.3 p.69 The work done by the 'homunculus in the theatre' must be spread amongst non-conscious agencies
Ch.3 p.71 I don't deny consciousness; it just isn't what people think it is
Ch.6 p.137 Intelligent agents are composed of nested homunculi, of decreasing intelligence, ending in machines
Ch.8 p.177 Obviously there can't be a functional anaylsis of qualia if they are defined by intrinsic properties