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The Intentional Stance (MIT Press) Revised ed. Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262540537
ISBN-10: 0262540533
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Dennett's essays are vivid, witty and admirably provocative.

(P. N. Johnson­Laird The London Review of Books)

This is Dennett in action: reflecting, joking, clarifying, criticizing -- and always stimulating...Anyone interested in the philosophy of mind will find both interest and excitement in these essays.

(Margaret Boden, Sussex University)

From the Back Cover

How are we able to understand each other in our daily interactions? Through the use of such 'folk' concepts as belief, desire, intention, and expectation, Daniel Dennett asserts in this first fullscale presentation of a theory of intentionality that he has been developing for almost twenty years. We adopt a stance, a predictive strategy of interpretation that presupposes the rationality of the people-or other entities-we are hoping to understand and predict.
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Product Details

  • Series: MIT Press
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: A Bradford Book; Revised ed. edition (March 6, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262540533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262540537
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. J. Snyder on January 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Anybody who wants to seriously wrestle with Dennett's thought on consciousness needs to start here, then move to "Consciousness Explained," and from there to "Freedom Evolves." (It is an update of "Elbow Room," which means that can be skipped. And, although it has some germs of Dennett's thought, "Brainstorms" can also be bypassed.)

Does one have to have a philosophy course touching on intentionality before reading this book? No, not if one is well-enough read in philosophy, psychology or sociology in general to grasp the background of Dennett's ideas.

I rate this a star higher than most of Dennett's later work primarily because it is more introductory, and so we see less of Dennett tripping himself up or avoiding some of the logical conclusions of his speculations.

That said, Dennett is never dull or boring; agree or disagree, he will stimulate your thought.
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Format: Paperback
I believe this work should be considered a classic given the enormous influence the articles in it have had on philosophy of mind, among other areas in philosophy. Much in here is stated more clearly about the Intentional Stance than it is in later works, such as Brain Children. That isn't a criticism. I think that around the time this work was published Dennett was more into legitimizing and explaining the Intentional Stance than into polishing up his account of mind. Indeed in later works, such as "Consciousness Explained" and "Kinds of Minds", he builds off the foundation he laid here to develop his account of mind more fully.
In IS, Dennett comments on just which philosophical schools he aligns himself with, for instance, interpretivism, methodological behaviorism, and functionalism. Part of the message to take home about exactly where he aligns himself is that it isn't really important to him. He lays his arguments down and lets others worry about whether that makes him an interpretivist or methodological behaviorist. A clearer statement of his position regarding categorization of his views can be found in the "Back to the Drawing Board" chapter in "Dennett and His Critics".
In later works, Dennett further clarifies in what sense the entities the Intentional Stance makes use of are real, entities such as beliefs and desires. The most important of these later works is probably "Real Patterns", which appears in "Brain Children". In short, beliefs are part of compression algorithms of behavior that has been subjected to radical interpretation (See Davidson) from the Intentional Stance. A compression algorithm is (you guessed it) something that compresses some series of data.
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Comment 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I've been trying to read every Dennett book since 1996 when I got to read the "elbow room" that really impressed my way of thinking, specially being a psychologist. I usually don't shift books on an author till I got to finish the one I'm into and its been almost two years trying to finish this book to start reading "breaking the spell" that's getting covered in dust.

This book unlikely the most recent Dennett books its a pretty deep investigation and defense into one of the most important ideas of the author as it is the intentional system, but in a rigorous way, so rigorous that some times it gets tedious so I have to let it go for a few days before continue the struggling to keep going through the pages.

I recommend this book only for those who want to know how Dennett got to the "Consciousness Explained" in a step by step and detailed way, but you can get to "Consciousness Explained" and understand it in a "mild" language skipping this sound step if you want to.

I will continue my pain since I decided to read all his books, but like I said before you can enjoy all his other great books skipping this one, but if you do, arm yourself with lots of patience cause you will see as the chapter you'r reading never comes to an end.

Good luck
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dennett makes philosophy of the mind accessible through his entertaining writing style. That sentence however diminishes the fact that it is Dennett's clear and rational thinking about 'intentionality' that is captured in this book. He cites his critics and uses their arguments against his propositions to further explicate his position, this offers a broad view of the current discussion around 'intentionality' and is extremely useful to those studying philosophy of the mind.
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