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Title: The mind and the brain : introspective description in the light of neurological findings : intentionality
Author: Dennett, Daniel C.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1965
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Recent attempts to describe the relation between the mental and the physical have met with difficulties because the supposed mental events and entities met with in introspection seem to have capacities and qualities entirely unlike those of physical events and entities. The way out of these difficulties is to follow the method of particle physics; postulate the existence of entities as the result of analysis, not as its prologue. This can be done by adopting the stance that the constituent object-words of introspective reports such as "idea", "thought", and "image" need not refer to any objects whatever for the daily business of interpersonal communication about introspected events to succeed. Introspective reports are treated with a particular blend of caution and sympathy, and pending an examination of cerebral functions and entities, no position is taken on the existence of any of the objects apparently referred to by the suspect object-words. In the course of describing cerebral function, the concept of the content of neural signals and structures is established. With the aid of this concept, cerebral mechanisms are described that could produce introspective reports in all their differentiations, without any events or entities in these cerebral mechanisms being enough like what we suppose thoughts or images to be to warrant any identification of mental and physical events or objects. Roughly, an explanation is given of what makes us suppose or believe, when we are theorizing, that there are irreducible, non-physical mental events, objects, or qualities. No room is left for non-physical events or entities, since the physical account of the production of the introspective reports is held to be complete. The analysis of the various aspects of the introspective world involves the examination of ordinary senses of "mental" words, such as "aware", "sensation", "reason", and "intend". Non-ordinary substitutes are occasionally proposed as theoretical words where the ordinary word is found to be vague or inconsistent in application, or an amalgam of separable concepts. Thus problems formulated in ordinary language are reformulated in theoretical terms, and this reformulation amounts to a partial solution of these problems in many cases.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available