Dennett, Daniel
 
 
(b. 1942-, D.Phil. Philosophy, Oxford, 1965). Broadly, he argues that the study of the human mind divides into two tasks: explaining consciousness and explaining intentionality.
 

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From 1965 to 1971, Dennett taught at UC, Irvine. He moved to Tufts University in 1971, where he has been a full professor since 1975. Since 1985, he has been Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences and Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. Dennett works on issues in philosophy of mind, language, science, biology, psychology, and artificial intelligence. Broadly, he argues that the study of the human mind divides into two tasks: explaining consciousness and explaining intentionality. His book The Intentional Stance (1987) argues that intentionality can be explained in terms of a stance that we are forced to take toward complex, adaptive systems that behave rationally. The ‘intentional stance’ contrasts with the ‘design stance’, adopted with respect to systems that are designed but not optimally, e.g., most evolved systems, and artificial systems, and the ‘physical stance’, adopted with respect to undesigned systems. Dennett’s 1991 book Consciousness Explained addresses the other great puzzle of the mind. Dennett argues that consciousness can be identified with a covert stream of internalized discourse. When the serial structure of natural language is internalized and helps control the competing resources of parallel, spatially distributed, neural resources, consciousness is on the scene. Much of Dennett’s theorizing about the mind assumes a strongly adaptationist understanding of natural selection. He argues that the assumption of optimality of design is justified in the study of evolved systems. This view is explicitly formulated and defended in Dennett’s 1995 book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. Other important works by Dennett include Content and Consciousness (1969), Brainstorms (1979), and Elbow Room (1984).
 
 
Tadeusz Zawidzki