Volume 22, 2006
Compositionality, Concepts and Representations II
D. Dennett’s brand of anti-representationalism
a key to philosophical issues of cognitive science
Although D. Dennett is sometimes accused of insensitivity to ‘real’, first-person problems of the mind, his Intentional Systems Theory offers a comprehensive, cognitive science grounded, account of the nature of subjectivity. This account involves views on intentionality (concerning the nature of the representation relation, content, psychological explanation), consciousness (comprising a functionalist model, a second order, belief-like, theory of self-awareness, and a deflationary view of qualia), personhood and freedom of action (concerning what must be in place in terms of cognition for the mentalistic concepts of ‘person’ and ‘action’ to apply). Since Dennett defends that the principles for understanding intentionality and consciousness are the same, in order to understand his brand of anti-representationalism we must deal with both intentionality and consciousness. That is what I will do in this article. I will also discuss the metaphysical implications of anti-representationalism, and in general use Dennett’s work as a key to describe how a range of philosophical issues of cognitive science appear from an anti-representationalist point of view.