The Representational Base of Psychological States: Filling a Gap in Dennett's Theory

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Nowaczek, Aaron




Daniel Dennett claims that we adopt the intentional stance toward other people, by ascribing psychological attitudes to them based on their behaviour (Dennett 1987a; 1987b). Yet we often form attitudes without any observation of behaviour. He says little about the basis of this formation, leaving a gap in his account. I attempt to fill that gap. First, I investigate the intentional stance’s assumptions, arguing that Dennett’s account works only because we have certain capabilities. Second, I argue that one of our most important capabilities, the capacity to represent the world and our psychological life, is the foundation on which we form psychological attitudes. Third, I argue that the attitudes we form are idealized abstractions of this representational content. I fill the gap in Dennett’s account by claiming that our psychological attitudes are idealizations of representational content rather than patterns in behaviour, and I do so broadly within Dennett’s theory.


Psychology - Cognitive
Psychology - Behavioral




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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