The discontinuity of levels in cognitive science
We begin by characterizing Dennett’s “homuncular functionalist” view of the mind, as described in his early work. We then contrast that view with the one outlined in From Bacteria to Bach and Back. We argue that recent changes in Dennett’s view have produced tension in the way he conceives of functional decompositions. Functional decompositions based on the intentional stance are supposed to reach a bottom, “dumb” level which can be explained mechanically; however, since Dennett now believes that neurons may need to be described intentionally, it is not clear whether our explanations of cognitive functions can ever align with our explanations of neuronal and network behaviors. We explore the consequences of this tension for Dennett’s view, and for cognitive neuroscience in general.
Gessell, B; De Brigard, F
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