I am taking my first philosophy class; is there a relatively short article (<30 pages preferably) on Dennett's view of the mind-body problem?

I have read his "Where am I", but that just seems like an entertaining story, not something that clearly presents his view.

  • Maybe googling 'heterophenomenology' will bring something up. .
    – user20253
    Nov 6, 2018 at 13:23

2 Answers 2


There is an essay called Real Consciousness in which Dennet responds to criticisms raised towards the Multiple Drafts model that Frank has mentioned above. Unfortunately I can't find a non-paid link to the paper, but it appears in his collection of essays called Brainchildren, along with a few other articles that are helpful in identifying his position.

To fully grasp the extent of his ideas you may struggle in <30 pages and you will eventually have to bite the bullet and read Consciousness Explained.

Seeing as it's your first class however, maybe you can get away with watching this Ted Talk, which explains the basics of his position in a pretty accessible way.


For quick surveys there are three places one can expect to find useful and short discussions of any topic on philosophy: (1) Wikipedia, (2) the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and (3) the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The references in these sources can lead one further. One can look for these sources when doing an internet search.

Here is the question:

is there a relatively short article (<30 pages preferably) on Dennett's view of the mind-body problem?

One of the shortest introductions, and the reference I recommend starting with to answer the OP's question, is the Wikipedia article on Daniel Dennett focusing on the section on his philosophy of mind of only a few paragraphs in length. These paragraphs give the following information:

  • Dennett is looking for "a theory of content" and for "a theory of consciousness". Expect to see this "bipartite structure" in his writings.
  • He has a "multiple drafts model" of consciousness. This model has its own Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_drafts_model He is quoted as writing: "Information entering the nervous system is under continuous 'editorial revision.'" in Consciousness Explained.
  • He is associated with "neural Darwinism" which also has a Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neural_Darwinism He has an "argument against qualia" and thinks qualia "does not constitute a valid refutation of physicalism".
  • He takes a confrontational approach to his colleagues with this quote from The Message is: There is no Medium: "My refusal to play ball with my colleagues is deliberate, of course, since I view the standard philosophical terminology as worse than useless—a major obstacle to progress since it consists of so many errors." Look for and critically assess the specific details on these "errors".
  • He claims in Consciousness Explained: "I am a sort of 'teleofunctionalist', of course, perhaps the original teleofunctionalist'". This is another keyword to use in searches for more information.

From here one has a framework from which to explore further.


Wikipedia, "Daniel Dennett" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Dennett

Wikipedia, "Multiple drafts model" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_drafts_model

Wikipedia, "Neural Darwinism" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neural_Darwinism

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .