more from Daniel Dennett

Single Idea 3159

[catalogued under 17. Mind and Body / B. Behaviourism / 3. Intentional Stance]

Full Idea

Intentional systems don't really have beliefs and desires, but one can explain and predict their behaviour by ascribing beliefs and desires to them. This strategy is pragmatic, not right or wrong.


'Intentional systems' think about things

Gist of Idea

Beliefs and desires aren't real; they are prediction techniques


Daniel Dennett (Brainstorms:Essays on Mind and Psychology [1978], p.7?)

Book Reference

Rey,Georges: 'Contemporary Philosophy of Mind' [Blackwell 1997], p.77

A Reaction

If the ascription of beliefs and desires explains behaviour, then that is good grounds for thinking they might be real features of the brain, and even if that is not so, they are real enough as abstractions from brain events, like the 'economic climate'.