more from Daniel Dennett

Single Idea 7368

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 2. Natural Purpose / b. Limited purposes]

Full Idea

In the beginning there were no reasons; there were only causes. Nothing had a purpose, nothing had so much as a function; there was no teleology in the world at all. The explanation is simple: there was nothing that had interests.

Gist of Idea

Originally there were no reasons, purposes or functions; since there were no interests, there were only causes


Daniel Dennett (Consciousness Explained [1991], 7.2)

Book Reference

Dennett,Daniel: 'Consciousness Explained' [Penguin 1993], p.173

A Reaction

It seems reasonable to talk of functions even if the fledgling 'interests' are unconscious, as in a leaf. Is a process leading to an end an 'interest'? What are the 'interests' of a person who is about to commit suicide?