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Lecture 21

HON 1010C Lecture 21: Dennet's "True Believers" and "In Darwin's Wake, Where am I?"

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St. John's University
HON 1010C
Denis Sullivan

Philosophy 1010C Daniel Dennett “True Believers” • Discusses different stances o Stance = a method for generating predictions o Astrological stance, physical stance, design stance, and intentional stance • Astrological stance employs the sun, moon, and stars to determine/predict behavior o Disregarded o Not considered reliable • Physical stance uses only physics to determine/predict behavior o Is believed to be capable of predicting all events o Past determines future o Even though the physical stance is believed to predict all events, we still use other stances because we may not have the tools to employ the physical stance in all situations • Design stance – uses inherent design of an object to predict future • Intentional stance – explaining something in terms of beliefs and desires o used in cases of people, animals, and computers o Question is raised: Does the intentional stance tell us anything real or reliable? ▪ We can neither confirm nor deny that it tells us anything real ▪ It is a “convenient fiction” ▪ Shows us patterns of human behavior which are not observable from the physical stance • Dennett’s most recent conclusion: The stances other than the physical stance tell us nothing that cannot be captured by the physical stance o Ex. Supervenient descriptions “In Darwin’s Wake, where am I? • A.I. = Artificial Intelligence o Dennett’s theory is that we operate in the same way as a computer operates • Creation Theory o Based upon biblical beliefs • Evolution = Darwin’s theory o Mindless mechanism determines all actions • Relationship between three above beliefs: o Dennett believes that if you reject A.I. you have to reject Darwin’s theory of evolution o Dennett believes that the mindless mechanisms of evolution create the living and physical object, while the mindless mechanism of A.I. can produce the artistic complement of that object ▪ Ex. Evolution creates the skylark, A.I. produces an ‘Ode to a Nightingale” (poem) Computers and Authorship • Dennett provides a theoretical example to help readers decide whether it is the creator of the machine or the machine itself that should be credited with authorship and winnings of games: • Dr. Frankenstein produces a monster, Spakesheare o Spakesheare write Spamlet o Who is the
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