Phenomenology in absentia: Dennett's philosophy of mind

Mark Crooks
Michigan State University
: Daniel Dennett's philosophical abolition of mind is examined with reference to its methodology, intent, philosophic origins, and internal consistency. His treatment of the contents of perception and introspection is shown to be derivative from realist reductionist misinterpretations of physics, physiology, and phenomenology of perception. In order to rectify inconsistencies of that realistic paradigm devolved from psycho-neural identity theory of mid-twentieth century, Dennett radicalizes its logic and redefines even veridical phenomenology of exteroception to be "illusory." This measure in extremis still does not save the appearances of his predecessors, nevertheless, for Dennett tacitly presupposes the existence of veridical phenomenology in his very treatment of non-veridical sensory phenomena that he uses to argue analogically from, to thereby suggest the plausibility of a parallel illusoriness of veridical phenomena of perception and introspection. This inhering inconsistency renders unsound Dennett's radical extension of the logic of identity theory, and ironically shows up the persistence of mental phenomenology that extant reductionism appears so desirous to argumentively eliminate. Nonetheless there is much to be learned from such an analysis of Dennett's purported elimination of mental contents, for a generalization of our critique throws light on the occult assumptions underlying realism and reductionism since early identity theory and its variants, and upon the possible viability of that programme as a whole., Someone does a sum in his head. He uses the result, let's say, for building a bridge or a machine[horizontal ellipsis]. There surely must have been calculation going on, and there was. For he knows that, and how, he calculated; and the correct result he got would be inexplicable without calculation.-But what if I said: "It strikes him as if he had calculated[horizontal ellipsis]." (Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, [S] 364), My debt to Wittgenstein is large and longstanding. When I was an undergraduate, he was my hero[horizontal ellipsis]. I gave up trying to "be" a Wittgensteinian, and just took what I thought I had learned from the Investigations and tried to put it to work. ( Dennett, 1991, p. 463), (C) 2003 by the American Psychological Association
Keywords absentia   phenomenology   philosophy of mind   perception   introspection   Daniel Dennett   illsion
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1037/h0091230
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 40,683
External links

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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Phenomenology and Fiction in Dennett.David Carr - 1998 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 6 (3):331-344.
On the Inescapability of Phenomenology.Taylor Carman - 2005 - In David Woodruff Smith & Amie L. Thomasson (eds.), Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 67.
Dennett's Mind.Michael Lockwood - 1993 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 36 (1-2):59-72.
Free Will in Absentia: Dennett on Free Will and Determinism.Robert C. Bishop - 2003 - Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 23 (2):168-183.
On the Absence of Phenomenology.Daniel C. Dennett - 1979 - In Donald F. Gustafson & Bangs L. Tapscott (eds.), Body, Mind, and Method. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 93--113.
The Fantasy of Third-Person Science: Phenomenology, Ontology and Evidence.Shannon Vallor - 2009 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8 (1):1-15.
Killing the Straw Man: Dennett and Phenomenology.Dan Zahavi - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2):21-43.


Added to PP index

Total views
88 ( #86,556 of 2,242,820 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #320,653 of 2,242,820 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature