Comments on Dennett's 'How to Study Human Consciousness Empirically'
Rorty (Richard)
Source: Synthese, Vol. 53, No. 2, Matters of the Mind (Nov., 1982), pp. 181-187
Paper - Abstract

Paper Summary


Author’s Abstract

  1. Professor Dennett suggests that we can study consciousness empirically by keeping track of the linguistic behavior of organisms which are believed to be conscious.
  2. This proposal will strike some people as obvious, but there are some to whom it will seem evidently false.
  3. Some philosophers, like Gabriel Marcel and Thomas Nagel, cling to a sense of mystery which they believe distinguishes philosophy from science. They will say that Dennett has once again managed to miss the point about consciousness - namely, that it lies beyond the reach of language, and can only be known from the inside.
  4. To illuminate the disagreement between Dennett and this sort of opponent, I would like to point out some analogies between the problem of how to study consciousness empirically and that of how to study motion empirically.

Comment:

Response to "Dennett (Daniel) - How to Study Human Consciousness Empirically or Nothing Comes to Mind".

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