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Putnam and Dennett on instrumentalism and the intentional stance

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H.G. Callaway (2024). Putnam and Dennett on instrumentalism and the intentional stance.  Journal  of   Multiscale   Neuroscience  3(1), 27-35.



This paper examines Dennett’s conceptions of intentionality and consciousness—focusing on his concept of the intentional stance (Dennett 1987, 1991b, 2021). It chiefly proceeds from a series of critical remarks due to Putnam (Putnam 1999, 2016). Dennett has written extensively on the philosophy of mind; his work includes many scholarly and scientific contributions. He has attracted much attention to the philosophy of mind, cognitive psychology, and computer science, and he is an important critic of alternative views and theorists in related fields. The present paper draws on critical departures from Quine’s physicalism in publications of Putnam and Davidson (Davidson 1963, 1997); and it examines criticism brought against Dennett’s work on grounds of forms of instrumentalism and antirealism in the intentional stance. Evaluating Dennett’s positions and Putnam’s critical perspectives turns largely on understanding the relation of Dennett on intentionality, consciousness and the mental to formative and controversial theses of his acknowledged mentor, Quine (Quine, 1960). It will be argued that Dennett’s version of functionalism is best understood as a sophisticated physicalism, antirealism, and quasi-behaviorism in cognitive science.

Keywords:  Intentionality, instrumentalism, intentional stance, functionalism, behaviorism, antirealism.

Conflict of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest

Copyright: © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Neural Press.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the CC BY 4.0 license.

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data in the Journal of Multiscale Neuroscience are solely those of the individual authors and contributors, not those of the Neural Press™ or the editors(s).

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