NQ 2 2 - Kevin Menear 10/26/05 Minds and Machines Section 4...

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Kevin Menear 10/26/05 Minds and Machines Section 4 Daniel C. Dennett’s Kinds of Minds In Daniel C. Dennett’s Kinds of Minds , Dennett proposes a pathway leading “toward an understanding of consciousness” (Dennett front cover). Along this path, Dennett elaborates on certain key elements that may be used in order to gain insight into the idea of consciousness. Among these elements are what Dennett labels as “stances” (Dennett 36). These stances are described as a method of explaining and predicting the actions and behaviors of an object or creature and can be grouped within three classifications: the physical, design and intentional stances. The physical stance discusses an object or creature in terms of its physical properties and assumes that what we know about the laws of physics hold true. The design stance views an object or creature as it is, or could be designed. The design stance assumes that the underlying physics will work and that our understanding of the design is accurate. The intentional stance discusses a creature or object by deliberately anthropomorphizing it; by treating it as if it were an agent (an entity that is capable of intentional action) and thus explaining and predicting its action. The intentional stance assumes that the intentional states are sufficient to predict its action and, in taking the intentional stance, there is the risk that one may possibly misunderstand the creature or object at the physical or design level (Notes 10/17). With these three stances, it is possible to further understand the actions of many different life forms. Dennett describes four classifications for the kinds of minds: Darwinian, Skinnerian, Popperian and Gregorian. Darwinian creatures are hardwired
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with traits upon their creation and cannot “learn” in any sense of the word. If the hardwiring of the Darwinian creature was compatible with its environment, it would
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This essay was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course IHSS IHSS 1051 taught by Professor Vanorman during the Spring '08 term at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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NQ 2 2 - Kevin Menear 10/26/05 Minds and Machines Section 4...

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