I read that

In his writings on the intentional stance, Dennett has often made the controversial further claim that the intentionality of a creature wholly consists in its behavior being well-predicted by our adoption of the intentional stance towards it: "all there is to being a true believer is being a system whose behaviour is reliably predictable via the intentional strategy, and hence all there is to really and truly believing that p (for any proposition p) is being an intentional system for which p occurs as a belief in the best (most predictive) interpretation." (Dennett 1981)


interestingly, however, Dennett claims that his view should be considered a sort of realism about the mind. As he himself notes, this requires a "delicate balancing act on the matter of the observer-relativity of attributions of belief and other intentional states." (Dennett 1987)

from https://sites.google.com/site/minddict/intentional-stance-the

But I still don't really understand what it's saying about "true believers" and the intentional stance. Can someone explain it?


1 Answer 1


In addition to his writings there are several excellent talks by Dennett on YouTube. If I remember correctly, the talk at the Moscow State College in Russia has some references to this topic. A large part of Dennett's program is trying to establish an objective basis for speaking about the contents of consciousness apart from just the report from the consciousness. His concept of the intentional stance represents an observation by the commentator of the subject's intent relative to a specific issue or action. Part of determining if our understanding of the subject's intent is correct is determining what beliefs the subject has which inform their intent. This cannot be merely the report by the subject, they might lie or be in error about their own beliefs. In order to determine a belief is actually held (a true belief) one must be able to predict the subject's intentional action on account of these beliefs.

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