Unlike the other authors that you have read over the past few weeks, Dennett gives attempts to give a strictly empirical account of ‘self’. For Daniel Dennett, accounting for phenomena (objects or events experienced in reality) is a matter of reduction to natural facts. When philosophers say all experience in reality is reducible to physical facts, we say that this is a physicalist account of the world. Dennett’s particular line of reasoning is an extreme form of physicalism, where if there is some phenomena that cannot be accounted without appealing to non-physical facts, then it stands to reason that the phenomena in question does not exist (or that it has been accounted for it incorrectly.) Hence, Dennett’s position in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science is what is known as material eliminativism. However, Dennett’s account approaches the notion of self from a perspective of evolutionary biology, and Dennett believes that an account of the self can be given in a way that develops from physical facts.
First, briefly lay out Dennett’s account of the self as it constructed through a narrative. What might this narrative structure mean for a person that has multiple personality disorder? Second, give a brief comparison with James Giles ‘no-self theory’ that you read last week. Finally, and following from your responses to the two previous questions, should a person prefer Giles’ or Dennett’s account of the self? Provide reasons for your decision and list some possible advantages, and disadvantages, of your choice.
Required Reading: Daniel C. Dennett, “The Origins of Selves”
Recommended Reading: There are number of T.E.D. (Technology, Education, Design) talks available on YouTube that will be of interest to you. Here is Dennett’s TED talk on the problem consciousness à <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjbWr3ODbAo (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.>This video should help you acquire some needed perspective.
Stanford Encyclopedia Article on “Physicalism” < http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/physicalism/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.> – Introduction & Sections 1, 2, 10, 11, & 12 will be helpful.
Remember: A reasoned response consists of more than one words responses or simple agreement with the author of the article or post you are responding to. Please cite all passages in the text (including page number) and cite all outside information according to MLA guidelines. Your answer should have AT LEAST 3 responses (possibly more), aside from your original post.
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