• AMMDI is an open-notebook hypertext writing experiment, authored by Mike Travers aka mtraven. It's a work in progress and some parts are more polished than others. Comments welcome! More.
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from Stances, a Catalog
  • Distinguish from Dennett Design Stance.
from designer stance
  • Distinguish from Dennett Design Stance.
from goddinpotty/TODOs
  • DONE bug On Dennett, link to The Society of Mind not rendering
    • also the italics in that quote come out with the stars rather than rendered properly. Might be a thing with quotes?
from practical freedom vs metaphysical freedom
  • I suspect this is the theme of Dennett's work, one of his books has the subtitle "forms of free will worth wanting".
from Weird Studies/William James on Consciousness
  • Some intro stuff on trying to define consciousness. Dennett appears as the enemy, they take his Consciousness Explained to be explaining it away, which I'm not sure is accurate.
from Materialism, Terry Eagleton
  • A synoptic overview of a bunch of quite different strains in philosophy that all in various ways share the name "materialism". It explicitly doesn't pay much attention to the kind of materialism I am familiar with, the scientific naturalism of Dennett, cognitive science, and general tech-atheist-rationalist discourse. It's focused more on people like Marx, Nietzsche, and the various ways they have thought about the body and the corporeal nature of thought and existence.
from Media Science Heroes
from @Against Narrativity
  • Dennett and Charles Taylor quoted as in support of narrativity in general. Taylor calls it an ‘inescapable structural requirement of human agency’.
from Acid Horizon/David Bentley Hart, We Are Not Software
  • No, it's something about his tone. He really hates not just materialism, but materialists themselves. Dennett and Dawkins come in for particular rancor (he thinks Chalmers is OK, barely). He thinks their doctrines are obviously absurd, and thus by implication anyone who advocates them must be either stupid or evil.
from Agency: notes and references
  • Levin & Dennett

    • when cognitive science turned its back on behaviourism more than 50 years ago and began dealing with signals and internal maps, goals and expectations, beliefs and desires, biologists were torn. All right, they conceded, people and some animals have minds…processing information and guiding purposeful behaviour…They resisted introducing intentional idioms into their theoretical work, except as useful metaphors when teaching or explaining to lay audiences.Genes weren’t really selfish, antibodies weren’t really seeking, cells weren’t really figuring out where they were. These little biological mechanisms weren’t really agents with agendas, even though thinking of them as if they were often led to insights.
    • We think that this commendable scientific caution has gone too far,
    • We reject a simplistic essentialism where humans have ‘real’ goals, and everything else has only metaphorical ‘as if’ goals. [we now can] move past this kind of all-or-nothing thinking about the human animal – naturalising human capacities and swapping a naive binary distinction for a continuum of how much agency any system has.
    • Teleophobia
    • Huh I must say I am surprised to see Dennett on my side in this battle (is it a battle?).
    • Agents, in this carefully limited perspective, need not be conscious, need not understand, need not have minds, but they do need to be structured to exploit physical regularities that enable them to use information (following the laws of computation) to perform task
    • Hm I would say purposive, regardless of their information-processing caps, but maybe that is quibbling.
    • There's a just-so story about evolution of cooperation between cells using PD, but it ignores genetics which is probably wrong. It implies cells are self-interested, they really are communists.
    • Weird digression into morphogenesis? I guess there is an analogy there?
    • Confusing adaptivity with agency ?
    • The key dynamic that evolution discovered is a special kind of communication allowing privileged access of agents to the same information pool, which in turn made it possible to scale selves. This kickstarted the continuum of increasing agency.
    • If you agree that there is some mechanism by which electrically active cells can represent past memories, future counterfactuals and large-scale goals, there is no reason why non-neural electric networks wouldn’t be doing a simplified version of the same thing to accomplish anatomical homeostasis.
    • tulpas kind of encapsulate agency in a very practical form.
from The Embodied Mind
  • As Dennett puts it, “Although the new [cognitivist] theories abound with deliberately fanciful homunculus metaphors—subsystems like little people in the brain sending messages back and forth, asking for help, obeying and volunteering—the actual sub-systems are deemed to be unproblematic nonconscious bits of organic machinery, as utterly lacking in point of view or inner life as a kidney or kneecap.” In other words, the characterization of these “sub-personal” systems in “fanciful homunculus metaphors” is only provisional, for eventually all such metaphors are “discharged”—they are traded in for the storm of activity among such selfless processes as neural networks or AI data structures.
from antiphilosophy
  • Most philosophy strikes me as amazingly wrongheaded and I can't bear to read it. OTOH, there are exceptions, philosophical writing that is clarifying (Dennett, Andy Clark, that sort, those that are basically theoretical cognitive scientists) or bracing/dizzying (Nietzsche, Deleuze, Sloterdijk). These don't feel like they should be the same field, to be honest, and I certainly read them with completely different sets of motivations and expectations. But they are both better than the kind of dreary analytic philosophy which is the default in the English-language world.
from William Irwin Thompson
  • If one has an inappropriate vision in the imagination, one generates an inappropriate “phase-portrait for the geometry of behavior” of the self. Our culture, lacking a vision of a multidimensional model of consciousness, simply oscillates back and forth between an excessively reified materialism and a compensatorily hysterical nihilism. This Nietzschean nihilism, in all its deconstructionist variants, has pretty much taken over the way literature is studied in the universities, and it also rules the cognitive science of Marvin Minsky, Dan Dennett, and Patricia and Paul Churchland, in which the self is looked upon as a superstition that arose from a naive folk psychology that existed before the age of enlightenment brought about by computers and artificial intelligence. This materialist/nihilist mind-set controls the universities.
    • Well that's a pretty standard take, can't say that I'm interested. More interesting is that he talks about The Embodied Mind.
from Kenan Malik
  • I'm not sure he does Dennett et al justice.
from David Bentley Hart
  • Apparently he really really hates Daniel Dennett and has written a lot of diatribes against him and fellow New Atheists:
from Some books on writing
  • (When I read that one, I was taken aback by how closely it matched my own thinking. Then I looked at the back where the acknowledgements are grudgingly placed, and found it was written by Daniel Dennett, which would explain that.)


07 Sep 2022 03:38 - 10 Sep 2023 01:19
Open in Logseq
    • At the MIT AI lab, he was considered to be the One Good Philosopher, and I've read him that way myself. I suppose nowadays I'd call him the Least Bad Analytic Philosopher, or more specifically the one who can best use philosophy to illuminate the nature of mental machinery.
    • In the eyes of Weird Studies though, he's the worst philosopher, kind of emblematic of everything they hate. I have a weak goal of convincing them otherwise, but I feel I have about as much chance of doing that as of convincing Marvin Minsky to take Heidegger seriously
      something I actually tried to do – pretty ambitious of me in retrospect. If I had succeeded it would have been quite a feat of intellectual peacemaking and diplomacy
    • Many of those same theorists [who support Fodor modules] have been lukewarm-to-hostile about Marvin Minsky's Agents, who form The Society of Mind (1985). Minsky's Agents are homunculi that come in all sizes, from giant specialists with talents about as elaborate as those of Fodorian modules, down to meme-sized agents (polynemes, micronemes, censor-agents, suppressor-agents, and many others). It all looks too easy, the skeptics think. Wherever there is a task, posit a gang of task-sized agents to perform it—a theoretical move with all the virtues of theft over honest toil....
      • – Consciousness Explained, p261
    • Facing Up to the Hard Question of Consciouisness
      • All the comprehension, appreciation, delight, revulsion, recognition, amusement, etc. that human beings experience must be somehow composed by the activities of billions of neurons that are myopic in the extreme, cloistered in their networks of interacting brethren, oblivious to the larger perspective they are helping to create. But how? That is the hard question.
      • Every animal does an acceptable job of controlling its degrees of freedom under normal circumstances. Otherwise, it would be extinct. So, every human being does this as well, but in the human case, the task of governance is magnified by the essentially limitless numbers of degrees of freedom that can iterate and ramify and amplify effects. Taking care of this embarrassment of riches is—to oversimply—what consciousness is for.
      • Note that he takes consciousness as perfectly real here.
    • John Gray on Derrida opens with some good potshots at DD Deconstructing Jackie
      • In an interview in the Guardian in 2017, the celebrated rationalist Daniel Dennett declared: “I think what the postmodernists did was truly evil. They are responsible for the intellectual fad that made it respectable to be cynical about truth and facts.” If Dennett’s anathema was heard in the afterlife by Jacques Derrida, who died in 2004 renowned as the progenitor of what is commonly described as postmodernism, his shade must have smiled. Nothing is more characteristic of evangelical rationalists than the demonological discourse of fundamentalist religion. But what can “pure evil” mean for those who claim to have exorcised all traces of the supernatural in their thinking? In the same interview, Dennett describes himself, evidently without irony, as “an eternal optimist”. By what magic does he imagine unadulterated malevolence can be banished from the world? Such enemies of postmodernism beg to be deconstructed whenever they open their mouths.
    • Dan Dennett: The Evolution of Understanding on Several Levels - YouTube (from SFI Barrier of Meaning Workshop)
      • Understanding only found in humans.
      • "free-floating rationales" (trees, fungi, etc do things for reasons)
      • Hierarchy of minds, Popperian etc (from Rosa talk). Animals can be Popperian without realizing it (I think that means, "trying things out in your head")
      • Chalmers talk also had a hierarchy of understanding.
      • Cunning, but less than full human understanding. Not explanatory (not sure I actually agree with that)
      • OK, I actually see how the WS guys were a bit justified, Dennett is definitely a human exclusivist in orientation.
      • The MacCready explosion human fraction of terrestrial vertebrate biomass 0.1% → 98%
      • Disagreeing with Freeman Dyson on source of technology (God or ?) cultural evolution. Tools vs "bare brains". cultural virtual machines (agree). Invasion of brains by symbiotic thinking tools (contra Burroughs who questions the symbiosis).
      • image.png
      • We are apes with infected brains
      • Huh 80% completely down with this program, 20% notice he is dissing the "mindless neurons". There's a lot of mind there, in the Bateson-sense at least. The assumption of mind-body dualism, and the hierarchy behind it – so default as to be almost unnoticeable.
      • Pablo Picasso never got called an intelligent designer
      • Factunorm Principle (Wertheimer) – sort of an implicature and normativity thing?
      • Too many degrees of freedom in the mind, no cop in charge, thus we have internal competition, consciousness is the arena in which control is attempted.
      • Rec Terry Deacon Incomplete Nature, energy, repair, parasitic systems. Turing/von Neuman separated energy from information which was a bad idea. (This is another version of embodiment arguments I think, although Dennett might not buy that)
      • Michael Levin, Cognition all the way down, Aeon (Oh I read this and it advocates for pan-agency, and that low mechanisms have understanding).