Phenomenology and Fiction in Dennett
In Consciousness Explained and other works, Daniel Dennett uses the concept of phenomenology (along with his variant, called heterophenomenology) in almost complete disregard of the work of Husserl and his successors in German and French philosophy. Yet it can be argued that many of the most important ideas of Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and others (and not just the idea of intentionality) reappear in Dennett's work in only slightly altered form. In this article I try to show this in two ways, first by talking in a general way about Dennett's phenomenology, and second by examining his treatment of the concept of the self. In both cases I argue that Dennett should have read his Husserl and Merleau-Ponty more carefully, since in the end his (hetero-) phenomenology is methodologically incoherent and suffers from something like a weakness of will. This emerges especially in his use of the notion of fiction.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1998-10-01