How to Psychoanalyze a Robot: Unconscious Cognition and the Evolution of Intentionality1
Author: Levy, D.
Source: Minds and Machines, Volume 13, Number 2, May 2003 , pp. 203-212(10)
According to a common philosophical distinction, the `original' intentionality, or `aboutness' possessed by our thoughts, beliefs and desires, is categorically different from the `derived' intentionality manifested in some of our artifacts –- our words, books and pictures, for example. Those making the distinction claim that the intentionality of our artifacts is `parasitic' on the `genuine' intentionality to be found in members of the former class of things. In Kinds of Minds: Toward an Understanding of Consciousness, Daniel Dennett criticizes that claim and the distinction it rests on, and seeks to show that ``metaphysically original intentionality'' is illusory by working out the implications he sees in the practical possibility of a certain type of robot, i.e., one that generates `utterances' which are `inscrutable to the robot's designers' so that we, and they, must consult the robot to discover the meaning of its utterances. I argue that the implications Dennett finds are erroneous, regardless of whether such a robot is possible, and therefore that the real existence of metaphysically original intentionality has not been undermined by the possibility of the robot Dennett describes.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Brooklyn College (CUNY), Brooklyn, NY 11210, USA Address for correspondence: 60 Riverside Drive (8G), New York, NY 10024, USA; E-mail: email@example.com
Publication date: May 1, 2003