David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 23 (2):157-177 (2008)
I suggest that most discussions of intentional systems have overlooked an important aspect of living organisms: the intrinsic goal-directedness inherent in the behaviour of living eukaryotic cells. This goal directedness is nicely displayed by a normal cell’s ability to rearrange its own local material structure in response to damage, nutrient distribution or other aspects of its individual experience. While at a vastly simpler level than intentionality at the human cognitive level, I propose that this basic capacity of living things provides a necessary building block for cognition and high-order intentionality, because the neurons that make up vertebrate brains, like most cells in our body, embody such capacities. I provisionally dub the capacities in question “nano-intentionality”: a microscopic form of “aboutness”. The form of intrinsic intentionality I propose is thoroughly materialistic, fully compatible with known biological facts, and derived non-mysteriously through evolution. Crucially, these capacities are not shared by any existing computers or computer components, and thus provide a clear, empirically-based distinction between brains and currently existing artificial information processing systems. I suggest that an appreciation of this aspect of living matter provides a potential route out of what may otherwise appear to be a hopeless philosophical quagmire confronting information-processing models of the mind.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Daniel C. Dennett (1996). Kinds of Minds. Basic Books.
Peter Godfrey-Smith (1996). Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature. Cambridge University Press.
John R. Searle (1980). Minds, Brains and Programs. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
Citations of this work BETA
Bryce Huebner (2011). Genuinely Collective Emotions. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (1):89-118.
Fred Adams (2010). Information and Knowledge À la Floridi. Metaphilosophy 41 (3):331-344.
Similar books and articles
John Searle (1983). Intentionality. Oxford University Press.
Anders Nes (2008). Are Only Mental Phenomena Intentional? Analysis 68 (299):205–215.
Richard Menary (2009). Intentionality, Cognitive Integration and the Continuity Thesis. Topoi 28 (1):31-43.
David Woodruff Smith (1988). Bodily Versus Cognitive Intentionality. Noûs 22 (March):51-52.
Natika Newton (1992). Dennett on Intrinsic Intentionality. Analysis 52 (1):18-23.
M. Reuter (1999). Merleau-Ponty's Notion of Pre-Reflective Intentionality. Synthese 118 (1):69--88.
Uriah Kriegel (2010). Intentionality and Normativity. Philosophical Issues 20 (1):185-208.
Bence Nanay (2006). Symmetry Between the Intentionality of Minds and Machines? The Biological Plausibility of Dennett's Position. Minds and Machines 16 (1):57-71.
Katalin Farkas (2008). Phenomenal Intentionality Without Compromise. The Monist 91 (2):273-93.
Ard Van Moer (2006). The Intentionality of Formal Systems. Foundations of Science 11 (1-2):81-119.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads38 ( #48,813 of 1,101,834 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #306,556 of 1,101,834 )
How can I increase my downloads?