Dennett, Consciousness, and the Sorrows of Functionalism

Mangan, Dr. Bruce B. (1993) Dennett, Consciousness, and the Sorrows of Functionalism. [Journal (Paginated)]

Full text available as:

PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.



Little is gained, and much lost, by casting an empirical theory of previous consciousness in a "functionalist" philosophical mold. Consciousness Explained is an instructive failure. It resurrects various behaviorist dogmas; it denies consciousness any distinct cognitive ontology; it obliquely adopts many long-standing research positions relating parallel and sequential processing to consciousness, yet denies the core assumption which produced this research; it takes parallel processing ("Multiple Drafts") to be incompatible with educated common-sense views of consciousness (the "Cartesian Theater"), while in fact parallel processing is compatible with some Cartesian Theater views. Contrary to Dennett, the Cartesian Theater does not necessarily imply that contents must fully "arrive" in consciousness at a single, specifiable instant; criticism of the Cartesian Theater based on this attribution is thus without force. And if consciousness is a distinct information-bearing medium, functionalist attempts to "explain" consciousness are inherently inadequate.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:Consciousness Explained, Daniel C. Dennett, Functionalism, Medium Hypothesis, Meta Cognition, Multiple Drafts
Subjects:Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
ID Code:7588
Deposited By: Mangan, Dr. Bruce B.
Deposited On:30 Aug 2011 04:22
Last Modified:30 Aug 2011 04:22


Repository Staff Only: item control page